05.13.22

Leahy And Grassley Introduce Bill To Bolster The Patents For Humanity Program That Recognizes And Rewards Inventors Who Address Global Humanitarian Challenges

WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, May 13, 2022) – Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have introduced the Patents for Humanity Act of 2022 in the Senate.  Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN) introduced a companion bill in the House that passed by voice vote in April.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patents for Humanity Program recognizes and rewards inventors who address global humanitarian challenges.  Since its inception in 2012, Leahy and Grassley have been strong supporters of the program. Together they passed the 2020 Patents for Humanity Improvement Act, increasing the value of the Patents for Humanity award.  The Patents for Humanity Act of 2022 further bolsters the program by codifying it into law and requiring the contest to be run at least every other year.  Leahy and Grassley want swift Senate passage so the bill can be sent to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Leahy said:  “The Patents for Humanity Award winners show us the power of harnessing innovation to help people around the world, through medical, nutritional, and sanitation inventions.  Almost half of the global population lacks essential health services, and nearly 200 million children suffered from malnutrition in 2020.  By enshrining this proven program in law, we help ensure that American innovation is leveraged for global philanthropic goals to improve the quality of life for those in developing nations.”

Grassley said:  “American innovators are not only a driving force behind our economy, their inventions often make the world a better place.  By codifying the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patents for Humanity program, this bill will ensure inventors are incentivized and rewarded for using their talents to help individuals and communities in need across the globe.”

Past winners of the Patents for Humanity program include innovators who have invented a way to cleanse and recycle blood during surgery, a more-effective malaria vaccine, wastewater treatment technology to prevent disease, and adjustable, affordable prosthetic limbs to get amputees moving again.  During the pandemic, the Patents for Humanity Program expanded to include a Covid-19 technology component.

Additional background on the USPTO’s Patents for Humanity Program is available online. The bill text is available here.

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