Patents for Humanity: It’s Not Just an Invention

The deadline for submission of applications for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) competition, PATENTS FOR HUMANITY, has been extended to October 31, 2014. The purpose of the program is to incentivize patent owners, applicants and licensees to use their technologies to address humanitarian issues in any of the following categories:

  • medicine
  • nutrition
  • sanitation
  • household energy
  • living standards.

Humanitarian issues, for purposes of the contest, are those that “significantly affect the public health or quality of life of an impoverished population”. Applicants must show either a humanitarian use of their technology or that they have made the subject technology available for research having a humanitarian purpose. In the humanitarian use category, applications must show, among other things, that the applicant’s technology and actions target an impoverished population. In the research category, applications must show that the research targets a neglected field of research.

Winners, selected following review by independent judges, but subject to approval by the Director of the USPTO, will receive both public recognition and an acceleration certificate good for one year, for accelerating certain matters before the USPTO. Examples of matters that can be accelerated include:

  • patent application prosecution
  • ex parte reexamination
  • appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Honorable mentions, a portion of which may be awarded for the ‘best up and coming technologies’, will receive recognition on the USPTO website and a certificate for accelerated examination of one patent application. The current fee for a request for prioritized examination of a patent application, for example, is currently set at US$4,000 for a large entity, US$2,000 for a small entity, and US$1,000 for a micro-entity. Therefore, winning or receiving an honorable mention could save both time and money, however, all other USPTO fees apply.

Applications and program details are available here.

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