Posted at 5:40 PM
Time and again history shows the profound impact that one good idea can have on human beings, our world, and our way of life. Patents for Humanity encourages the use of patented technologies to help alleviate poverty and suffering around the world.
Today, seven entities – six companies and a non-profit – were recognized at the White House as winners of the second annual Patents for Humanity program. These companies have found new and innovative ways to combat malaria, tuberculosis and malnutrition, improve basic sanitation, provide light through solar power, and increase mobility for disabled people in some of the most disadvantaged and underserved regions of the world. Given the global impact of the program, it is especially noteworthy that among this year’s Patents for Humanity winners are foreign recipients from France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Launched by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in February 2012 as part of an Obama administration initiative promoting game-changing innovations to solve long-standing development challenges, Patents for Humanity is a competition recognizing patent owners and licensees who address global challenges in health and standards of living. The program is co-sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
“In recent years, we’ve seen the profound impact that good ideas—patented and marketed—can have on human beings, transcending national borders and transforming lives around the world, ” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee, who delivered remarks at the awards ceremony. “We want to showcase the laudable work of patent owners to address 21st century humanitarian challenges, and demonstrate how patents can and do help build a better world.” Read Michelle Lee’s full remarks.
Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology also spoke at the awards ceremony.
“One of the cornerstones of this Administration’s global development policy is investment in game-changing innovations with the potential to solve long-standing global challenges. The Administration’s efforts in this area focus on making the greatest use of the kinds of technological and scientific breakthroughs that are characteristic of America’s entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers by expediting commercialization of inventions for humanitarian purposes and rewarding companies that use their patented technologies to solve societal challenges,” said Dr. Holdren.
Entrants competed in five categories: medicine, nutrition, sanitation, household energy and living standards. In addition to being recognized for their work, winners will receive accelerated processing of select matters at the USPTO.