News - February 1, 2005

Inventors are young men

The picture of an absent-minded inventor with grey hair and glasses, working alone in an attic no longer holds. A recent Dutch survey on the Value of European Patents, on the factors that determine whether an invention leads to a valuable innovation, indicates that the majority of inventors are male, in their thirties and working for large companies in the private sector. Similar surveys are also being held in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Great Britain. Two thousand Dutch inventors were questioned. Ninety-eight percent of the inventors are men, and just over half (51%) have a university degree. Technologists also figure strongly, many having studied subjects like mechanical engineering (23%) and chemical technology (22%). The picture of an inventor working away on his own is outdated, as 84% said that interaction with colleagues was important during the invention process.