An interesting article has recently been published about a study investigating whether having a feminine-sounding or race-identifying name means your patent application is more or less likely to be granted by the USPTO.
One change that could be made to enable a study going forward about whether there really is apparent gender bias, and to try to remove it if it is present, would be to remove the first names of the inventors and replace them with simply an initial. For example, instead of "Jessica" or "Jake" Smith you would simply be identified as J. Smith (of course, you could still be required to provide full names on filing, but then this information could be redacted when the file passes to the examiner).
This is more difficult from a potentially race-identifying name perspective. However, again, it could be a requirement that a full name is provided on filing, but that this is redacted before the file passes to the examiner - so in the example above the identifier would be J.S.
One potential issue would be that the examiner wouldn't then be able to use the inventor name in a search for relevant prior art documents. Might there be ways around this? I'm sure there are, but that's for the Patent Office(s) to work out.
Female and minority inventors are less likely to have their patent applications granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to a new study from the University of Georgia that reviewed 16 years of patent data.