Sidebars Podcast | Mary Hannon: Shining the Light on the Wide Gender Gap in the Patent Bar

In this episode, April and Kim interview Mary Hannon, the woman who started the public conversation about the gender gap in the patent bar and inspired this podcast. Mary is currently a law student at DePaul University and in the fall she will be joining Sidley Austin as an associate in the IP litigation group. She is the author of The Patent Bar Gender Gap: Expanding the Eligibility Requirements to Foster Inclusion and Innovation in the U.S. Patent System, which was published in IP Theory in the fall of 2020. This article generated See more +
In this episode, April and Kim interview Mary Hannon, the woman who started the public conversation about the gender gap in the patent bar and inspired this podcast. Mary is currently a law student at DePaul University and in the fall she will be joining Sidley Austin as an associate in the IP litigation group. She is the author of The Patent Bar Gender Gap: Expanding the Eligibility Requirements to Foster Inclusion and Innovation in the U.S. Patent System, which was published in IP Theory in the fall of 2020. This article generated significant media attention and in December 2020 U.S. Senators Hirono and Tillis referenced Mary’s article in the letter they sent to the Director of the USPTO concerning the gender gap among patent practitioners.

In March 2021, the federal register published a request for comments by the USPTO to propose changes to the eligibility requirements to sit for the patent bar.

In this podcast, we will explore the trajectory of Mary’s education and career, which led her to formulate her ideas about the gender gap in the patent bar, and her innovative ideas about the solution to this problem.

Highlights include:

The many facets of a science-related career (3:23)

The path to IP law (5:11)

Handling rejection with grace and turning it into a job offer (9:14)

The best advice Mary got from her dad (11:22)

Work-life balance as a trial lawyer (15:07)

The inspiration behind Mary’s ground-breaking article (26:05)

The arcane criteria currently used to determine patent bar eligibility (29:17)

Possible fixes to the outdated eligibility criteria for the patent bar (32:09)

Increasing the visibility of patent law as a career option (35:52)

Expanding opportunities vs. lowering the bar (37:35)

Sailing through unexpected celebrity and controversy (41:00)

Finding your voice and seizing the day (50:18) See less -

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