Marietta, GA — Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA-06) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation today that strengthens incentives for innovators to use their talents to solve global humanitarian challenges. The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act is co-sponsored 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. The Senate version of the bill is led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

“We must uplift those who use their skills to develop technology and ideas that benefit our world,” said McBath. “The ‘Patents for Humanity Program’ is a wonderful example of this country coming together to solve problems that impact millions, and I’m proud that our bill strengthens that program while giving innovators more freedom to support one another.”

“Applying for a patent is often an arduous process that discourages many from pursuing their talents,” Cline said. “This legislation helps foster innovation and provides accelerated review of future patents so that inventors can more easily achieve their dreams. I am proud to join my colleagues, Representative McBath, Chairman Johnson, and Ranking Member Roby as cosponsor of the bipartisan Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act.”

“Innovators who use their talents to address some of the world’s toughest humanitarian problem deserve special commendation, which is why I am pleased to join this bill that would provide greater recognition to their contributions and the patent system’s role in helping innovative ideas become real-world solutions,” said Johnson, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

“As a strong advocate of intellectual property protection, I am proud to join a bill that enhances the well-deserved recognition given to those individuals who direct their skills and abilities toward generating solutions that benefit the greater good of all people,” said Roby, Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

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 similarly-sized start-ups 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.

Text of the legislation can be found online here.