Woman-led Teams from Niche and Fish & Richardson Collaborate to Submit Initial Patent Filing for Niche’s Direct Admissions Program

In tandem with World Intellectual Property Day, a woman-led team of inventors from Niche and an all-women legal team from Fish & Richardson have submitted an initial patent filing for Niche’s Direct Admissions program, which enables partner colleges to offer acceptance and scholarships to students based on their Niche profile, eliminating the need for an application. The theme of this year’s World IP Day is “Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity.”

The patent submission is the first for Niche and was pioneered by a team led by primary inventor and Niche Chief Operating Officer Athena Meyers. Each year, one out of every two college-seeking students creates a Niche profile, which includes their interests, achievements, and GPA. With Niche's Direct Admissions program, students who meet the admissions criteria set by Niche’s partner colleges will receive acceptance and scholarship offers — without ever going through the traditional application process. In this way, the program empowers students and removes friction from the college admissions process. Direct Admissions taps into Niche’s highly diverse user base, thereby empowering a diverse pipeline of students to enter higher education.

When Meyers joined Niche’s executive leadership team in 2020, she brought a fresh perspective to a college admissions process that had been unchanged for decades yet was fraught with friction and stress for both students and admissions offices. She felt empathy for both sides and was determined to disrupt the status quo.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to pursue higher education if that path makes sense for them — but the current process creates barriers. We are on a mission to remove the barriers,” Meyers said.

Niche General Counsel Andra Mazur Smith said, “Less than 13% of U.S. patents are held by women inventors, so it’s incredibly meaningful to us that our first patent is led by a female inventor who is pioneering this revolutionary approach to college admissions. It only made sense to carry that mission of empowerment forward and partner with an all-female team at Fish & Richardson. In doing so, we’re closing the patent gap and charting a path for more women to excel in the IP space.”

Fish Principal Christina McDonough, Technology Specialist Pingping Wang, and Paralegal Laura Murphy drafted the initial patent filing seeking to obtain IP protection of the Niche Direct Admissions program.

“This year’s World IP Day is an occasion to celebrate the innovative spirit of women inventors, creators, and IP professionals. Leading an all-female team to draft this patent application was an inspiring opportunity to catalyze the ingenuity and hard work of the Niche team,” said McDonough. “It was especially apropos because the Direct Admissions program is creating new pathways for students to realize their academic aspirations and hopefully lay the groundwork for the next generation of women innovators.”

While the patent submission is pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Niche continues to partner with a growing list of colleges to make the admissions process simpler, more transparent, and free. To learn more about Niche Direct Admissions, visit