Washington, DC — Bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) this summer passed the Senate unanimously this week, and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act , H.R. 7259, strengthens incentives for innovators to use their talents to solve global humanitarian challenges.

“The ideas in this program truly have the potential to change our world for the better, and our legislation encourages inventors to pursue their life-saving ideas and global humanitarian solutions,” said McBath. “We saw that we could do our part to expand this program and give innovators more freedom to support one another as they aim to serve our world. This bipartisan effort is a wonderful example of all of us coming together to help solve problems that impact millions, and I’m pleased and proud to see it pass the Senate unanimously.”

Cline said, “Applying for a patent often discourages many from pursuing their talents. This legislation helps foster innovation by providing for an accelerated review of patents, thus allowing inventors to more easily achieve their dreams and protect their endeavors. I was pleased to see this legislation pass in the Senate and am looking forward to the President signing this bill into law.”

“Intellectual property and innovation are what help our country flourish,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “In Congress, we have been committed to ensuring that the intellectual property system incentivizes innovation to the greatest extent possible. Through its support of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patents for Humanity program, this bill accomplishes that goal and highlights the ways that innovation improves our quality of life and betters humanity.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office “Patents for Humanity” competition recognizes inventors who develop creative solutions to global humanitarian problems. Through this competition, the USPTO awards inventors with a certificate for an accelerated review of a future patent. The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act supports this program and the innovators it recognizes by making these acceleration certificates transferable while codifying the program into law. Smaller companies and the USPTO encourage the growth of this vital program. This bill increases the power of the program to encourage those seeking to make global change to pursue their innovations, as well as the opportunity for other innovators to receive a certificate via transfer.

Innovations recognized in the past by the program have included better ways to diagnose and treat HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases; improved crops and better sources of nutrition energy sources for those without a reliable electric grid, and methods to preserve clean drinking water and improve sanitation.

The legislation is co-sponsored in the House by Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), who Chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet; and Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL-02), Ranking Republican Member on the Subcommittee. Companion legislation (S.2814) was introduced in the Senate by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Text of the legislation can be found online here.