USPTO Announces New ‘Patents for Humanity Green Energy’ Award Category

Winners will receive a certificate to accelerate USPTO processing for one eligible matter — such as an ex parte re-examination proceeding or a patent application — as well as public recognition of their work.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has launched a special category of its Patents for Humanity Program for green energy inventions, a category that will provide business incentives for patent applicants, holders, and licensees whose inventions are addressing the challenges of climate change through green energy innovations, including wind, solar, hydrogen, hydropower, geothermal, and biofuels technologies.

“The Commerce Department is committed to supporting the groundbreaking work of the inventors and companies who are creating new solutions that we need to overcome climate change and related global energy challenges of the future,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “The Patents for Humanity program reminds us of the strength that human ingenuity can bring to solving humanity’s most pressing problems.”

Innovators play ‘a crucial role’

USPTO Director Kathi Vidal said innovators are critical in addressing climate change.

“Our nation’s innovation community is playing a crucial role in devising creative solutions to the challenge of climate change,” Vidal said in a statement. “Innovation in this field is critical to how we will live and prosper in the future. This new Patents for Humanity Green Energy category allows us to provide special recognition to innovators tackling this unprecedented challenge.”

Dallas is an important piece of the USPTO network. The Texas Regional Office, which opened in 2015, is in the Terminal Annex Federal Building in downtown Dallas. It serves the Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas regions.

The agency said that the Patents for Humanity Green Energy category joins other recent USPTO initiatives—such as a joint work-sharing program with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; expedited examination procedures under the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program; and a partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s WIPO GREEN program—that are designed to address the challenge of climate change.

Winners can speed processing of patent application

Winners will receive a certificate to accelerate USPTO processing for one eligible matter — such as an ex parte re-examination proceeding or a patent application — as well as public recognition of their work, the USPTO said.

The office said that the certificate now has more options for use than those given in previous competitions.

The USPTO said that under the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act, award winners may transfer their acceleration certificates to third parties, including for compensation, and can leverage the acceleration certificate to obtain funds to help transform their inventions into deliverable goods and services. 

Launched in February 2012, the Patents for Humanity Award was recently codified into law when President Biden signed the Patents for Humanity Act of 2022, the USPTO said.

The USPTO said that it is accepting applications for the Patents for Humanity Green Energy category. The deadline for the current round of awards is June 1. For more information about how to apply, go to the Patents for Humanity page on the USPTO website.

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