In the annual State of the Union Address, President Obama explained: “Innovation is what America has always been about.” Days later, the Obama Administration took major steps forward to collaboratively work with private industry to tap American ingenuity to assist in a world-wide humanitarian effort. They call it Patents for Humanity, which was announced at the White House on February 8, 2012. See Patents for Humanity Announced at White House Event.
Patents for Humanity is the USPTO’s voluntary pilot program to recognize patent owners who apply their patented technology to address humanitarian needs. The program seeks to recognize businesses of all shapes and sizes that leverage life-altering technologies to confront global challenges in four categories — medical technology, food and nutrition, clean technology, and information technology.
In a recent article discussing Patents for Humanity published on IPWatchdog.com, USPTO Director David Kappos wrote:
Research, development and commercialization of agricultural, medical, energy and information technologies involve both high risk and high cost. Innovation in these game-changing fields is fueled by intellectual property rights. The USPTO is therefore in a unique position to facilitate new ways for the IP system to continue in this role for all of humanity.
President Obama’s Global Development Policy — the first by a U.S. Administration — recognizes that raising the living standards of humanity is not just a moral imperative for the United States; it is vital for our economic and national security. Patents for Humanity advances this policy by leveraging the power of invention to improve lives.
Patents for Humanity is a call to action for our world’s most innovative people to assist those most in need. By examining patent portfolios with an eye towards humanitarian dual use, innovators can maximize the social, economic and environmental impacts of their intellectual resources.
To participate, an application must be submitted on or before August 31, 2012, describing how they have addressed humanitarian needs with their patented technology. Judging will be performed by researchers from academia and Federal labs donating their time. Up to 50 winners will be chosen.
Winners will receive an acceleration certificate which may be used to: move a “patent re-examination proceeding” to the front of the queue; move a patent appeal case in front of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) to the front of the queue; or accelerate the examination of a patent to ensure a final decision on the application within 12 months. Certificate holders may redeem their certificate to accelerate any one matter in their portfolio not related to the subject of the humanitarian program application.
For more information see: