Collaboration plays a crucial role in overcoming many complex issues worldwide. It is this shared desire for problem solving that pushes countless innovators to improve their inventions. Programs such as Patents for Humanity are dedicated to those who inspire to better the world with their technology.
Recognizing that failure is a necessary, albeit expensive, part of innovation, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Patents for Humanity program recognizes patent holders who use their technology for humanitarian purposes. Each year, hundreds of patents compete in one of five categories which include Medicine, Sanitation, Energy, Nutrition, and Living Standards. This year, the USPTO Patents for Humanity ceremony recognizes seven recipients whose patents are awarded the opportunity for accelerated processing at the USPTO.
This year’s winning patents aim to solve critical global challenges such as providing improved drug compounds used for potentially treating drug-resistant diseases and access to anti-malarial drug compounds. Each patent creatively and effectively approaches its issue and will go a great distance in improving the quality of life of millions all over the globe. The winners include:
2015 Patents for Humanity winners:
- Sanofi, for supplying large quantities of anti-malarial compounds on an at-cost basis for use in developing countries.
- Novartis AG, for identifying new drug compounds for potentially treating drug-resistant tuberculosis and providing them to the non-profit TB Alliance for further development.
- American Standard, for distributing 700,000 “SaTo” safe toilet latrine pans to communities in Africa and Southeast Asia.
- 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.
- Nutriset, for fighting childhood malnutrition by creating a worldwide network of partners to supply their patented Plumpy’Nut® formula using local ingredients.
- Golden Rice, for creating vitamin-A enriched strains of rice to prevent thousands of cases of blindness and death each day in people who subsist primarily on rice.
Category: Living Standards
- 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.
2013 Patents for Humanity winners:
Category: Medical – subcategory Medicines & Vaccines
- Gilead Sciences, for making HIV drugs available to the world’s poor using a network of generics manufacturers in Asia and Africa.
- University of California, Berkeley, for developing research and license agreements to provide a lower-cost, more reliable way to produce anti-malarial compounds.
Category: Medical – subcategory Diagnostics & Devices
- SIGN Fracture Care International, for distributing low-cost fracture implants to speed healing in developing world hospitals.
- Becton Dickinson (BD), for creating a fast, accurate TB diagnosis machine and placing 300 systems in 22 High Burden Countries.
Category: Food & Nutrition
- DuPont Pioneer, for developing an improved strain of sorghum fortified with more protein and vitamins for use in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Intermark Partners Strategic Management LLP, for extracting edible protein and vitamins from waste rice bran in Latin America.
Category: Clean Tech
- Procter & Gamble, for distributing a small chemical packet which removes impurities and contaminants from drinking water and has purified nearly 5 billion liters worldwide.
- Nokero, for delivering solar light bulbs and phone chargers for off-grid villages through local entrepreneurs.
Category: Info Tech
- Sproxil, Inc, for deploying a system to identify counterfeit drugs with an ordinary cell phone in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Microsoft Corporation, for providing machine learning tools that allow health researchers to better analyze large data sets.
Ocean Tomo and the Center for Applied Innovation are proud supporters of Patents for Humanity, but the program has also been nationally recognized on numerous occasions. It was awarded the “National IP and Technology Transfer Policy Award” at the Second Annual Global Technology Impact Forum in 2012 and “Best National IP & Tech Transfer Policy 2013” by LESI at the Global Technology Impact Forum last year.
Now is a great time to remind and encourage your contacts to apply. Applications and patents for the 2016 Patents for Humanity program can be submitted via the USPTO portal from July 1st through December 4th of this year. We look forward to seeing what cutting-edge innovations this year brings.