The USPTO Announces Patents for Humanity Program
In an effort to promote the use of technology in battling global issues of public health and quality of life, the USPTO has announced a “Patents for Humanity” program aimed at incentivizing the use of patented technology in an effort to remedy worldwide humanitarian needs.
Patents for Humanity is a USPTO sponsored program in which applications will be taken in four categories: medical technology; food and nutrition; clean technology; and information technology. Up to 50 winners will be chosen in the pilot year. Of course, there is a reward – an acceleration certificate that allows the recipient to receive faster processing in a re-examination proceeding, BPAI appeals case, or a final decision of a patent examination. Examples of eligible technology include “life-saving medical diagnostic equipment, water sterilization devices, mosquito control, and land mine detection, among others.”
This program recognizes that universities and businesses of all sizes should each play a role in contributing to developing solutions that support sustainable development in the world’s impoverished nations. As USPTO director David Kappos stated, “[s]weeping revolutions in technology remind us of what the innovative drive and entrepreneurial spirit can do to build a better world.”
Although it is unlikely that companies will be handing over their patent portfolios for a bump up in the queue, any attention to global humanitarian needs is welcome. Many corporations like Nike have “open innovation” programs designed to promote collaboration and shared knowledge. Also, many other programs exist to inform and promote humanitarian use licenses, like Global Access in Action.
Click here for more information and instructions on how to apply.