July 1, 2015


By Jorie L. Stroup,  Patent & Trademark Attorney,  Roberts Mlotkowski  Safran & Cole, PC


The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is once again accepting applications for recognition under the Patents for Humans Program.  Patent for Humans is an annual program through which the USPTO recognizes patent owners who use their technology for humanitarian purposes.  This year, applications will be accepted from July 1, 2015 through December 4, 2015.

Participants must submit program applications describing what actions they have taken with their patented technology to either address humanitarian needs among an impoverished population or further research by others on humanitarian technologies. Applications will be accepted in five categories: (1) Medicine, (2) Nutrition, (3) Sanitation, (4) Household Energy, and (5) Living Standards.

Patents for Humanity Award recipients will receive a certificate to accelerate select matters before the USPTO and will be recognized for their efforts in a public award ceremony sponsored by the USPTO. Honorable mentions will receive accelerated examination of one patent application and a featured write-up on the USPTO Web site. The USPTO expects to announce awards in the spring of 2016.

Congratulations to last year’s winners, including:

(1)  Sanofi, for supplying anti-malarial compounds on an at-cost basis for use in developing countries;

(2) Novartis AG for identifying new drug compounds for potentially treating drug-resistant tuberculosis and providing them to non-profit TB Alliance for further development;

(3)American Standard, for distributing 7000,000 “SATO” safe toilet latrine pans to communities in Africa and Southeast Asia;

(4) SunPower Corp. for providing rechargeable lanterns as a safer alternative to kerosene lamps in Philippine villages, via shipping containers converted into portable, solar powered energy stations;

(5) Nutriset for fighting childhood malnutrition by creating a worldwide network of partners to supply their patented formula;

(6) Golden Rice for creating vitamin-A enriched strains of rice to prevent thousands of cases of blindness and death in people who subsist primarily on rice;

(7) GRIT: Global Research Innovation & Technology for developing an all-terrain wheelchair using readily available bicycle parts for use in India, Guatemala, Haiti, and other locations.

For more information, visit: http://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/patents-humanity.