The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today unveiled a competition to encourage inventors to share their patented technologies to address humanitarian needs. Winning inventors will receive a faster review of their applications for patents on future inventions.
The program, called Patents for Humanity, is officially a pilot program to help address an Obama administration priority of meeting global development needs by rewarding companies that bring needed technologies to underserved regions of the world. The initiative also can highlight positive examples of humanitarian actions that are compatible with business interests and patent rights.
Patents for Humanity will be run as a challenge, where applicants show how they have adapted their patented technology to meet public health or quality of life issues faced by populations in need or at risk. Participants will send in applications describing how they’ve used their patented technology or products to address humanitarian challenges. Entries may be submitted between 1 March and 31 August 2012.
Judges selected from academia will evaluate applications in four categories: medical, food and nutrition, clean technology, and information technology. Technologies for consideration should confront global development issues such as life-saving medical diagnostic equipment, water sterilization devices, mosquito control, and land mine detection.
Up to 50 winners will be chosen in the first year of the challenge. Winning entries will receive a certificate that awardees can use 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 to the front of the queue, or
– Accelerate the examination of a patent to ensure a final decision on the application within 12 months.
Certificates can be used only for inventions not related to the subject of the humanitarian program application.
Hat tip: IPWatchdog
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