On April 20, OSTP and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted the 2015 Patents for Humanity award winners for a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Patents for Humanity, which was launched at the White House in February 2012, is a USPTO program that recognizes innovators who use pioneering technology to confront humanitarian challenges.
Under Secretary Michelle Lee with representatives of the 2015 Patents for Humanity award winners: American Standard Brands, Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT), Golden Rice, Novartis, Nutriset, Sanofi, and SunPower Corp. (Photo Credit: Jeff Isaacs, USPTO)
OSTP has long recognized the promise of such pull mechanisms to help overcome market failures and catalyze potentially game-changing innovations through market incentives. The Administration’s efforts in this area focus on making the best use of the technological and scientific breakthroughs that are characteristic of America’s entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers by expediting commercialization of inventions for humanitarian purposes and rewarding companies that use their patented technologies to solve societal challenges.
At its core, Patents for Humanity aims to reward forward-thinking, socially-conscious inventors who have demonstrated uses of their patented technologies to make the world a better place--whether through improving public health and quality of life, providing new opportunities to developing communities, or advancing scientific understanding of key humanitarian issues. The 2015 awardees are private-sector leaders who have answered President Obama’s call to unleash science, technology, and innovation to help solve global development challenges. From supplying anti-malarial compounds to vitamin-enriched rice, to all-terrain wheelchairs and more, the highlighted accomplishments were as impressive as they were diverse. You can read more about the 2015 award winners here.
Dr. John P. Holdren, OSTP Director, tied the event to larger Administration recognition of the importance of our patent system, commenting, “The American patent system is a critical piece of our innovation economy and an important tool for addressing humanitarian challenges and global development. That’s why this President has voiced time and again his commitment to pursuing common sense legislation that curbs abuses of the patent system, levels the playing field for inventors, and promotes innovations like the ones we are celebrating at this event.”
Dr. Holdren speaks at the 2015 Patents for Humanity ceremony. (Photo Credit: Jeff Isaacs, USPTO)
The ceremony also featured remarks from Michelle Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Michael Oister, CEO of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. You can watch the remarks here.
Jennifer Lee is Deputy General Counsel and Policy Advisor for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.