Patently Good: USPTO Rewards Humanitarian Innovations
On February 8, 2012, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced the start of their “Patents for Humanity” pilot program. This 12-month prize competition encourages and rewards patent owners and licensees who leverage their patented technology to address public heath or quality of life issues faced by impoverished populations.
The USPTO would like to highlight examples of patent owners and licensees making important contributions to some of the world’s humanitarian challenges by publicly honoring them at an awards ceremony at the USPTO. In addition, the USPTO will award acceleration certificates to winners, which may be redeemed to accelerate (1) a pending patent application; (2) an ex parte reexamination proceeding; or (3) an appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.
The USPTO will accept applications starting March 1, and only the first 1,000 applications received will be considered. Judging will be completed by December 31, 2012 and up to 50 winners will be chosen. Applications will compete in four categories of global issues: medical technology, food & nutrition, clean technology, and information technology.
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Dennis Chang is a Patent Attorney with Carr & Ferrell's Intellectual Property Practice Group. Mr. Chang holds a B.S. in Biology and a Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and received his JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law.