The Patent for Humanity Pilot Program
In this, the season of giving, what better gift could one give than coming up with technology to improve the lives of our fellow human beings? The entries have all been submitted, the judging has begun, and the winner of the Patent for Humanity Pilot Program will be announced shortly after the beginning of 2013. The Patent for Humanity Pilot Program recognizes businesses whose inventions address humanitarian needs in four categories: medical technology, food and nutrition, clean technology, and information technology. Applicants then select from two judging categories: (1) humanitarian use or (2) humanitarian research. If an applicant selects the humanitarian use category, their technology must impact a humanitarian issue and they must demonstrate that their entry addresses a recognized human issue; their entry targets an impoverished population affected by the humanitarian issue; and that their actions have significantly increased application of the technology benefitting the impoverished population addressed by the humanitarian issue. In the humanitarian research category, the applicant must demonstrate that they have made patented technologies available to others for conducting research on a targeted humanitarian issue; the research by others occurs in an area lacking significant commercial application; and that significant action has been taken to make the technology available for research by others. The competition criteria states that, for the purposes of this competition, the term “humanitarian issue” is being defined as “one significantly affecting the public health or quality of life of an impoverished population.” There are also selection factors that will be considered when the recipients are selected. First, the technology can be drawn to any of the four competition categories; the impoverished population benefitting from the humanitarian activities can be anywhere in the world; and, the evaluations are financially neutral, which means that whether the applicant’s organization is for profit or non-profit will not be considered. Winners will be recognized for their humanitarian efforts at an awards ceremony and will receive an acceleration certificate, which can be used to accelerate any technology in the recipient’s portfolio through the patenting process. In addition, new legislation was announced last week that, if initiated, would bolster the program by allowing the acceleration certificates awarded to be sold to third parties on the open market. You can go to http://patentsforhumanity.challenge.gov/submissionsif you would like to view the entries that have been submitted for consideration. Now, let’s begin thinking of the next big invention that would address a humanitarian issue and make this world a better place, competition or not.