The patent process

Applying for a patent can be a lengthy and complex process, and the #MakeWhatsNext Patent Program sets out to simplify it.

Patent Program teams

Meet the amazing female inventors working to change the world one invention and patent at a time.



2018-2019 teams

2017-2018 teams

2016-2017 teams

Female inventors throughout history

Find examples of women, past and present, who have changed the world with their inventions.

  • 1715

    Sybilla Masters was the first female inventor in recorded history. She invented a special way for cleaning and curing corn crops. Her patent was issued in her husband’s name by the British courts in 1715.

  • 1809

    In 1809, Mary Dixon Kies was the first American woman to receive a US patent. She invented a process for weaving straw with silk or thread.

  • 1865

    From 1855 to 1865, women only received 10.1 patents per year while men received 3,767.

  • 1882

    In 1882, Maria Beasley was given a patent for her invention of life rafts. Her life rafts were used on the Titanic and were responsible for saving hundreds of lives.

  • 1885

    In 1885, Judy W. Reed became the first African-American woman to get a patent for her dough kneader and roller.

  • 1903

    In 1903, Mary Anderson, a woman from Birmingham, Alabama received U.S. Patent No. 743,801 for her invention of windshield wipers.

  • 1967

    In 1967, Yvonne Brill received a patent for her development of rocket and jet propulsion technologies.

  • 1988

    Gertrude Elion, an influential biochemist and pharmacologist, not only received a Noble Peace Prize in 1988, but her name also appeared on 45 different patents.

  • 1997

    Patricia Billings received a patent in 1997 for a fire-resistant building material called GeoBond.

  • 2010

    In 2010, patents granted to women jumped 35% faster than the overall 27% increase.

  • 2013

    Entrepreneur and robot designer, Melonee Wise, headed Fetch Robotics in 2013. It received its patent in 2017.

  • 2017

    In 2017, women are continuing to come up with new ideas, gaining patents, and inspiring a new generation with their creativity and innovation.

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