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Chile among OECD leaders for gender equality in patent applications

InvestChile - July,1,2022

Gender Report: A National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) analysis has revealed that the proportion of invention patent applications made by Chilean women inventors rose by 5.4% compared to 2020. Ventures such as MOV are examples of women who dared to take the lead and create new things. 


In 2018, Silvana Herrera was in her final year studying design with a major in product design at Universidad de Talca. She had to present her final project and wanted to produce something that would make a difference, but she didn’t have a clear idea of what it might be. She just knew that she wanted to do something inclusive. 

One day, while struggling with her research because she didn’t know where to start, she was waiting to cross the street when she happened upon Michael Moraga, who had been blind since the age of seven. Silvana offered to help him cross the street, without knowing that he would end up helping her more than anyone else. 

Thanks to Michael, she became aware of the problems with the white cane and realized that it hadn’t really evolved. Silvana says that “I saw the opportunity to design and create a new prototype so that visually impaired people could move around.” Thus MOV was born. 

MOV Designs is a science- and technology-driven venture, spearheaded by Silvana Herrera, CEO of her own brand, who, as well as being a designer, holds a master’s degree in industrial design and product development. MOV utilizes sonar field technology to improve the spatial orientation of visually impaired people. The device aims to replace the white cane and sits on the back of the visually impaired person’s head, freeing up their hands, thereby enabling them to be more independent in society. 

Much like Silvana, there are hundreds of Chilean women who have patented products never before seen in the world. According to the Gender Report: Analysis of Female Inventors, released by the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI), Chile ranks third among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for having the highest gender equality in international patent applications in scientific and technological fields. 

Talented Chilean Women 

Jovanka Trebotich, Technology Transfer Coordinator at Know Hub, member of the Advisory Council of ScienceUP and of the Association of Independent Producers (Asociación de Productores Independientes, API), welcomes the report’s results, but doesn’t get carried away and continues to look to the future. 

“The fact that we rank third in gender equality in science and technology patents is a reflection of the good research and development (R&D) that is being carried out in Chile,” she says, but adds that things must continue improving. 

She also emphasizes that invention patents are market-focused, that is to say that they are thinking about current market needs and opportunities and looking to help resolve them and have an impact on society. “This, indirectly, indicates Chile’s economic growth, and that we are taking the right steps towards becoming a knowledge-based society, like most other OECD countries.” 

An OECD Leader 

The report also revealed that, according to data provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the proportion of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent applications from women Chilean inventors reached a total of 26.2%, a rise of 5.4% compared to 2020. Thanks to this increase, Chile now stands at 9% over the global average of 16.5% for women inventors making PCT applications. 

This is a new phenomenon, because while there is a large gender gap in this area around the world, Chile experienced an increase of 5% compared with the previous year (21% in 2020 vs 26% in 2021). This is due to the fact that the main users of the PCT system in Chile are universities, who have a larger proportion of women applicants. 

Patenting an innovative idea in Chile 

When Silviana defended her MOV graduate project at university, the professors were the people who initially endorsed the project and told her that she could patent it. Upon accepting the idea, they had a meeting with the institution’s lawyer who started off the process. “The university has helped me a lot. They give me the freedom and support to focus on the infrastructure and initiate background processes. In that sense, they’ve been extremely helpful,” she says. 

The greatest number of female inventors (58%) work out of universities. 21% work out of the business sector, while 14% work independently. This has been a common trend. However, last year, the proportion of women inventors working in big companies grew by 3.9% and the participation of women inventors working in SMEs grew by 4%. 

To find out more about registering intellectual property in Chile, please read the following article. 

Source: Qué Pasa 

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Topics: Intellectual Property



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