The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patents for Humanity awards were handed out in a ceremony on Capitol Hill last week. In addition to receiving the award and national recognition winners get a certificate for accelerated processing of future patent USPTO matters.gilead

The Obama administration has  pushed the USPTO to promote programs to solve long-standing development challenges in health and standards of living. 

Patents for Humanity is an awards competition for patent owners and licensees. It is the USPTO’s voluntary pilot program to recognize patent owners who apply their patented technology to address humanitarian needs. 

Remember all inventors come up with new technology to improve our way of life. Inventors are awarded a patent which gives them a monopoly for a brief period of time. In exchange for that monopoly the inventor gives his invention to society at the end the patent term. 

In essence every invention and every patent adds to humanity. This award is directed towards specific technologies that are currently threatening the well-being of global society: medical technology, food and nutrition, clean technology, and information technology.

“As a global leader, the United States has a responsibility to take the initiative on humanitarian issues,” said U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

“Time and again history shows the profound impact that one good idea—patented and marketed—can have on human beings, our world, and our way of life,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea.

2012 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 

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.