The USPTO recently announced the Patents for Humanity Challenge which awards patent owners and licensees for innovations that address humanitarian needs. Judges will chose winners from four categories:
- Medical technology – includes medicines, vaccines, diagnostic equipment, or assistive devices.
- Food and nutrition – includes agricultural technology like drought-resistant crops, more nutritious crop strains, farming equipment, and technologies that improve food storage, preservation, or preparation.
- Clean technology – includes technologies that improve public health by removing or reducing harmful contaminants in the environment, such as water filters, sterilization devices, and cleaner sources of energy for light, heat, cooking, or other basic needs.
- Information Technology – encompasses both physical devices and software which markedly improve the lives of the poor, such as portable computers, cell phones, or internet access devices being used to foster literacy, education, or other knowledge which improves living standards.
The reward is of particular interest. Award winners have the option to accelerate either:
- Ex parte reexamination proceeding including one appeal to the BPAI from that proceeding
- A patent application including one appeal to the BPAI from that application or
- An appeal to the BPAI of a claim twice rejected in a patent application or reissue application or finally rejected in an ex parte reexamination.
For more specifics see the Federal Register Notice.