By: Ashley Sloat
Women's History Month: Meet Mary Kies
As part of our contribution to celebrating Women's History Month, we're introducing you to Mary Kies, America's First female patent holder!
On May 15, 1809, Mary became the first woman to be awarded a US patent. This was a full 19 years after the passage of the 1790 Patent Act that allowed "any person or persons" to petition the US government for protection of their original methods and designs. The Patent Act technically opened the door for both men and women to protect their inventions, but at the time, in many states, women couldn't own property independent of their husbands or fathers. As a result, many women never tried, but Kies was an absolute pioneer in breaking that trend.
A Fashionable Solution to an Economic Problem
Her patent was a method for weaving straw and silk. The Napoleonic Wars between France and Britain had resulted in a trade embargo on British goods in 1807. This embargo was economically devastating and forced the early American fashion industry to be less dependent on imports. New England women turned to straw hat making as one DIY solution. Kies' approach involved weaving silk into the straw, creating a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and kicking off an early American fashion fad. James Madison signed this patent into law and reportedly, Dolley Madison wrote Kies a letter, congratulating her on her contribution to helping women in history.
Still a Gap 232 Years Later
We've come a long way since Mary's time, but even now, less than 22% of U.S. patents have at least one woman inventor named and among the entire US inventor demo, women only account for 12% of inventor-patentees. Be sure to check out our Innovation is for Everyone post to learn more about the USPTO's Expanding Innovation Initiative that includes a free crash-course on the fundamentals of patent prosecution, as well as opportunities for mentoring, and access to community groups.
[New Podcast] Software Patents
By: Josh Sloat
S2 Episode 1: Software Patents
Protecting your digital innovations
We're officially kicking off the second season of the Patently Strategic Podcast after taking a brief post-holiday break and in this month's episode, our experts tackle software patents.
As Silicon Valley engineer and investor Marc Andreessen famously said, “Software is eating the world”. It is central to so much of today’s innovation and the growth potential is off the charts. Despite rate hikes rattling the market a bit, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Tesla – these 5 companies, all with software at their core are worth a quarter of the S&P’s entire market cap. It’s possible that Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, could eventually be the sixth such company worth over $1 trillion. In our microcosm of focus, these eye-popping stats are no exception. The AI powered market will grow to $180 billion by 2025. By the end of this year, the Global Edge Computing market will reach $6.72 billion and the global AR and VR market will exceed $209 billion. By 2030, there will be 50 billion IoT devices in use worldwide. That’s 6 devices each for every man, woman and child on this planet – and all of them are powered by software.
The stakes are high, the value is soaring, and the importance of quality patenting has never been more strategically vital. In this month’s episode, Dr. Ashley Sloat, President and Director of Patent Strategy here at Aurora leads a discussion along with our all star patent panel, digging into:
The group also concludes with an insightful brainstorming session around two problems that plague this space. The first is around a new patent type that would help overcome many of the current prosecution and court problems faced by software patents. The second, pulling from adjacent IP law, is a mechanism for small inventors to receive compensation for using their patents, similar to how music copyright royalties are handled.
Ashley is joined today by our always exceptional group of IP experts including:
Patently Strategic is available on all major podcasting directories, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We're also available on 12 other directories including Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and TuneIn, so you should be able to find us wherever you listen to podcasts.
Topic and guest participant requests
If you’re an agent or attorney and would like to be part of the discussion or an inventor with a topic you’d like to hear discussed, please reach out.
Ashley Sloat, Ph.D.
Startups have a unique set of patent strategy needs - so let this blog be a resource to you as you embark on your patent strategy journey.