The U.S. Patent System Has Stymied Black Ownership Of Patents For Centuries

us patent office sign in alexandria va
Alyssa Guznik
January 23, 2023

One thing Black people have mastered is our creativity. Every day we are responsible for the birth of new memes, dances, and projects across the globe.

So if we're so lit, why do we hold so few patents?

 The US patent system, one of the best in the world, has done its damnedest to lock Black people out. Following the 1857 Dred v. Scott case, which ruled that Black people weren't US citizens, the patent office denied almost all Black patent applicants, essentially barring our ancestors from holding a patent.

But why does a patent matter that much in the first place?

Though not the rule, many patents earn their holders money. Money equals a form of power.

There are fewer than 2% of Black Intellectual Property lawyers to help us navigate the system, but other avenues exist to help Black inventors. Free assistance programs, training seminars, grants and funding programs exist for Black inventors.

We are a community that CHOOSES to persevere. Anti-Blackness is real, and efforts to stop our glow are pervasive, but trust we will invent a way to overcome as we always do.

We have a quick favor to ask:

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With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

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