Inventing Solutions to The World’s Challenges

Inventors play a key role in solving the world’s most vexing challenges by developing lifesaving drugs to fight devastating illnesses, new seed strains for combatting famine, green technologies to combat global climate change, and myriad information-technology advances to assist the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.

Patents for Humanity, a new pilot program developed by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), seeks to encourage inventors who develop and help make availablepatented technologies that address the world's humanitarian challenges and improve the lives of the poor. As an incentive, winners will receive a certificate for expedited processing of certain matters before the USPTO, as well as public recognition for their contributions.

Participants are asked to submit applications describing how they have addressed humanitarian needs with their patented technology. Judging will be performed by researchers from academia and Federal labs. Applicants will compete in four categories: (1) medical technology; (2) food & nutrition; (3) clean technology; and (4) information technology. Eligible technologies may include life-saving medicines and vaccines, medical diagnostic equipment, more nutritious or heartier crops, food storage & preservation technology, water sterilization devices, cleaner sources of household light and heat, or information devices promoting literacy and education, among others.

Applications are due August 31 and can be submitted online here.

Quentin Palfrey is Senior Advisor for Jobs & Competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

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