Journal of Data and Information Science ›› 2020, Vol. 5 ›› Issue (3): 116-128.doi: 10.2478/jdis-2020-0025

• Research Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Gender Patenting Gap: A Study on the Iberoamerican Countries

Danilo S. Carvalho1, Lydia Bares2,(), Kelyane Silva3   

  1. 1Center for Technological Development in Health (CDTS), Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    2Department of General Economics University of Cadiz, Av. Enrique Villegas Velez, 2, 11002, Cadiz, Spain
    3Intellectual Property Academy, Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Received:2020-02-08 Revised:2020-05-19 Accepted:2020-06-11 Online:2020-07-20 Published:2020-09-04
  • Contact: Lydia Bares


Purpose: This work presents a study on the female involvement in patent applications in all 23 Ibero-American countries that are WIPO members, in order to measure gender inequalities in institutional collaborations and technological fields, across time.

Design/methodology/approach: The data used in this paper come from EPO Worldwide Patent Statistical Database (PATSTAT). PATSTAT contains bibliographical data relating to more than 100 million patent documents from leading industrialized and developing countries, as well as legal event data from more than 40 patent authorities contained in the EPO worldwide legal event data (INPADOC). The extracted subset is composed of 150,863 patent applications with priority years between 2007 and 2016.

Findings: Our observations indicate that even in more dynamic economies such as Portugal and Spain, the participation of women per patent applications does not exceed 30%. Additionally, the distribution of female participation among institutional sectors and technological fields is consistent with previous studies in other regions and indicate a socio-cultural divide.

Research limitations: Unisex names were not considered and were counted as gender unknown, and patent applications for which no inventor information was available were discarded, but further effort of data analysis may provide more information about gender inequalities.

Practical implications: While patents are imperfect variables of inventive step and therefore should be considered as a variable proxy of innovation, our findings may help to guide the implementation of policies for balancing gender participation in innovative activities, as well as instigating research into the issues causing divisive participation along gender lines.

Originality/value: While there is a widespread effort into evaluating and improving the participation of groups recognized as minorities within state-of-the-art activities, research about women participation in the innovation sector is fragmented due to differing regional characteristics: industrial and academic segmentation, socio-economic disparities, and cultural factors. Thus, localized studies present an opportunity of filling the gaps of knowledge on societal participation in innovation activities.

Key words: Gender, Iberoamerica, Patent statistic