Patents for Humanity – The perfect blend of social consciousness, technology, and incentives to create

In 2012, the Patents for Humanity initiative was started to encourage innovations and solutions to the numerous challenges of global development such as infrastructure, energy, and medicine to name a few. Under the program a potential applicant can submit an application to the USPTO and upon approval the applicant may be given an acceleration certificate applicable for application processing at the USPTO. Furthermore, past applicants have been recognized in an awards ceremony conducted at the White House. Previous years winning technology zones have includes areas such as Medicine, Sanitation, Nutrition, Energy, Clean Technologies, Information Technologies, and Living Standards Technologies. Notable, winners have included; Gilead sciences for its contributions towards making HIV medicines available by generics manufacturers in Asia and Africa, The University of California, Berkeley for low cost production methods of producing anti-malarial compounds, Sproxil’s part in the development of IT systems to identify counterfeit drugs, and Nokero’s incredibly interesting developments concerning solar power light bulbs and mobile phone charging systems. These technologies are tremendously benefiting disadvantaged people around the globe faced with constrained resources who are living in challenging political and economic environments. The Patents for Humanity initiative aims to provide a higher standard of living responsibly by providing a creative solution. That solution relies on a mixture of social consciousness, technology, and incentives to create – an impressive combination of several of humanities best attributes.

Socially conscious entrepreneurship and innovation are some of the hallmarks of the American marketplace and our patent system. One of the greatest challenges facing our intellectual property system is how to transfer the benefits of research and development of modern technologies to other less fortunate individuals and societies. The importance of robust patenting incentives, increased patent quality, socially conscious and morally focused technologies can leave lasting impressions on what types of characteristics a truly remarkable twenty first century inventor should embody.

The most recent Patents for Humanity initiative was renewed Friday May 27th, 2016 with notable improvements. Previously, Patents for Humanity projects incentivized business participation by the award of an “expedited processing certificate” that could be used to expedite patent application processing at the USPTO. The certificate was not transferrable so smaller companies that saw successes were not able to package their successes for further negotiations, partnerships, and sales. The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act allows the acceleration certificate and awards to be transferrable to other entities thereby attracting more small businesses to the initiative and increasing the rewards of recognition by the program. We can thank Senator Patrick Leahy, a notable legislative contributor to the field of Intellectual Property, who recognizes that – “The innovations that are recognized by the patents for Humanity Award program help underserved people throughout the world.”

Previous winners have identified that the holder of the acceleration certificate may be unable to use the certificate and that by “making the certificate transferable, we can ensure that the certificate will be put to full use” – Stephen Katsaros, Chief Executive Officer of Nokero. Nokero is responsible for technological inventions concerning off grid technologies, solar power light bulbs, and mobile charging stations.

Through refinement and further legislative implementation the United States Patent System continues to thrive. Notably, this Legislation serves as a laudable benchmark of what our Patent System can be with the right incentives and social awareness.

Authored by: Timothy J. Maier and P. Marshall Ticer of Maier and Maier PLLC

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