Patents for Humanity Program

OMB 0651-0066

OMB 0651-0066

In 2012, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) conducted a voluntary pilot program to incentivize the distribution of patented technologies or products for the purpose of addressing humanitarian needs. The pilot program, notice of which was published in the Federal Register (77 FRN 6544) in February 2012, was a follow-up to the responses received from the agency's "Request for Comments on Incentivizing Humanitarian Technologies and Licensing Through the Intellectual Property System"-published September 20, 2010-and was open to any patent owners or patent licensees, including inventors who had not assigned their ownership rights to others, assignees, and exclusive or non-exclusive licensees. The USPTO collected information from applicants that described what actions they had taken with their patented technology to address humanitarian needs among impoverished populations or how they furthered research by others on technologies for humanitarian purposes. After reviewing the results of the pilot, the program was renewed as an annual program in April 2014. Currently, there are five categories in which applications can be categorized: Medicine, Nutrition, Sanitation, Household Energy, and Living Standards. To participate in this program, applicants must submit an application describing how their actions satisfy the competition criteria to address humanitarian issues. The USPTO has developed two application forms that applicants can use to apply for participation in the Patents for Humanity Program. The applications are reviewed by independent judges. A selection committee composed of representatives from other federal agencies and laboratories will make recommendations for the awards based on the judges' reviews. Those applicants who are selected for an award will receive a certificate redeemable to accelerate select matters before the USPTO and public recognition of their efforts, including an awards ceremony at the USPTO. The certificates can be redeemed to accelerate one of the following matters: an ex parte reexamination proceeding, including one appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) from that proceeding; a patent application, including one appeal to the PTAB from that application; or an appeal to the PTAB of a claim twice rejected in a patent application or reissue application or finally rejected in an ex parte reexamination, without accelerating the underlying matter which generated the appeal. The certificates cannot be transferred to other parties. Should a certificate recipient wish to extend the time period during which their award certificate can be redeemed, they must complete a Petition to Extend the Redemption Period of the Humanitarian Awards Certificate (PTO/SB/431).

The latest form for Patents for Humanity Program expires 2022-02-28 and can be found here.

OMB Details

Humanitarian Program Application (Humanitarian Use)

Federal Enterprise Architecture: Economic Development - Intellectual Property Protection


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