Weekly Roundup is a McNair Center series compiling and summarizing the week’s most important Entrepreneurship and Innovation news.
Here is what you need to know about innovation this week:
Joshua Brustein and Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg
Silicon Valley tech giants became unlikely political players in this election cycle. The results of the election leave the Valley in an uncertain position. Clinton received 114 times the amount of campaign contributions than Trump from the tech industry, so it should come as no surprise that a Trump presidency was not the industry’s favored outcome. The immediate threat to tech companies with the election of Donald Trump is the possibility of stringent immigration restrictions. Restrictions on immigration make it difficult for high skilled employees to work in the US. Furthermore, Trump’s lack of a clear plan for technology and the tech sector has left the industry in a state of limbo.
Jamie Condliffe, MIT Tech Review
Many ballot initiatives on Tuesday were tech-related. Florida voted against an initiative that would have forced those with solar installations to give up payments for energy they feed back into the grid. The outcome will promote the expansion of home solar. Nevada voted to deregulate its electrical market. In transportation innovation, Seattle approved a $54 billion project to develop 62 miles of light rail and 37 new rail stations. Washington state rejected the first carbon tax in the US, partly over concerns that it failed to raise enough revenue for clean energy projects. Montana voted against a proposal to establish and allocate $20 million to the Montana Biomedical Research Authority.
Paul Sawers, Contributor, VentureBeat
While Trump has been outspoken on economic reform, he largely did not address the the technology industry. While Paypal Founder Peter Thiel supported Trump throughout his candidacy, the majority of tech entrepreneurs expressed dismay over the possibility of Trump presidency. VentureBeat’s Sawers includes several Tuesday night tweets from tech industry leaders on the outcome of the election.
Michelle K. Lee, USPTO Director & Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property
USPTO completed its Clarity of the Record Pilot, a program within the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative. The Clarity of the Record Pilot enhances patent quality by identifying best practices for clarifying aspects of the prosecution record.
68 unique data points were measured, and each point represents a best practice. Examples of best practices include separately addressing independent claims or providing specific limitations in claims that are anticipated by prior reference when used to reject multiple claims. During the pilot, examiners used 14 percent more best practices in pilot cases as opposed to a control group.
The USPTO will be holding a Patent Quality Conference on December 13 to share more information on the Enhancing Patent Quality Initiative.
Taylor Jacobe, Research Assistant, McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
McNair’s Taylor Jacobe focuses on the slow growth in women’s presence in STEM and innovation. Jacobe provides robust, global evidence of the economic benefits of integrating women into the workforce and encouraging girls to pursue careers in these fields.
The Obama administration has made efforts to introduce such initiatives, including work-life balance programs and speaking tours with successful women. However, much work remains in combating gender inequality in the workplace, especially within the STEM fields.
The solution to this inequity is neither simple nor obvious. Jacobe recommends a combination of policy changes aimed at eliminating cultural barriers for women and increasing education opportunities for girls.
Dean Takahashi, Contributor, VentureBeat
A recent study by hiring firm HiringSolved reveals that women constitute only 19.6 percent of staff at the top 25-tech companies. The study indicates a critical need for integration of women into technology and innovation.
Many Silicon Valley tech giants have introduced measures to address the gender imbalance in their workforce. HiringSolved’s study relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence to sift through its databases of information on gender, ethnicity, and age. Although the firm’s methods are by no means foolproof, the results are telling.
Thank you to Meghana Gaur for contributing to this week’s innovation roundup.