Katrina Parrott is fighting to have her innovation recognized.
Back in 2013, the 64-year-old created skin tone emojis prior to smartphones’ implementation, BuzzFeed News reports.
In the process of the launch of her app, iDiversicons, she used over $200,000 of her savings as well as hired a team.
Now, the Texas native is still on a mission to receive recognition for her idea after numerous patent rejections.
“It’s really frustrating when you put your heart and soul and resources into an idea that has impacted so many lives, and then be rejected when you go to the place to formally get recognized for it,” Parrott told BuzzFeed News.
Following a nearly decade fight, Parrott has received backing from government officials.
On Feb. 13, the outlet notes that Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas sent a letter to the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office to demand answers for why women of color and other underrepresented groups “are granted significantly fewer patents than Big Tech.”
“When giant tech companies like Apple are granted patent after patent by the USPTO, women and entrepreneurs of color face steep hurdles in getting credit for their ideas — and too often see their patents rejected,” Warren shared in a statement to the outlet. “The USPTO needs to do a full accounting of how and why entrepreneurs of color disproportionately have their patents rejected and level the playing field for small business owners taking on Big Tech.”
According to a USPTO spokesperson, they confirmed that the federal agency will respond to Warren and Lee’s letter by Feb. 28.
In the midst of the patent rejections, Parrott is adamant about receiving what’s rightfully hers.
“They used my resources, and my suggestions, and I got no recognition for any of it,” Parrott said, according to BuzzFeed News. “We were first on the scene. We’ve done all of the due diligence. We’ve been touching people’s lives all over. People are coming up to me and saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for including everybody.’ So what I want is to be able to have a patent on my wall and say, ‘Katrina, you did a great job!’”