Patents for Humanity: COVID-19

Collage of pictures related to the Patents for Humanity competition for COVID-19 inventions.

How can human innovation address the COVID-19 pandemic?

Through inspired inventors making a difference.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is expanding the Patents for Humanity Awards Program to include a new category for those who are responding rapidly to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by using or developing game-changing technologies. This new award category will provide business incentives for patent applicants, holders, and licensees whose inventions track, prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19. Their success stories will inspire others to harness innovation for human progress.


In addition to public recognition of their work, winners will receive a certificate that grants them accelerated USPTO processing for one eligible matter. New for this special award category, as recently provided for in Public Law 116-316: Winners may transfer their acceleration certificate to a third party.

All innovations related to COVID-19 are eligible.

Any U.S. patent or patent application that addresses COVID-19 is eligible for this award, including any inventions created to track, diagnose, prevent, or treat the disease. Please note that this new award cycle will only be for applications related to COVID-19. To review the additional award categories available in future cycles, please visit the Patents For Humanity webpage.

The application period for this program has ended. The deadline for submission was on September 30, 2021. On December 15, 2022, the winners were announced.

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About the Patents for Humanity award

Patents for Humanity recognizes innovators who use game-changing technology to meet global humanitarian challenges. The program provides business incentives for reaching those in need: winners receive an acceleration certificate to expedite select proceedings at the USPTO, as well as public recognition of their work. The awards showcase how patent holders with vision are pioneering innovative ways to provide affordable, scalable, and sustainable solutions for the less fortunate.

Businesses and others are finding unique and creative ways to reach underserved markets. Their stories show that humanitarian engagement is compatible with business interests and strong patent rights, and that companies can effectively contribute to the global good while maintaining commercial markets. Watch a video about the Patents for Humanity award to learn more.

Application process and eligibility

Patents for Humanity submissions are evaluated on the effectiveness of their technology to address humanitarian issues, the contributions made by applicants to increase use of their technology among the impoverished, and the impact those contributions have made to improve lives. The Patents for Humanity: COVID-19 category is only open to holders, applicants, and licensees for invention that track, prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19. The application period for all other categories of the Patents for Humanity program has closed. Winners for all other the categories were announced in August 2020. This application cycle will only include the COVID-19 category. Please contact us if you have any questions.


The competition is open to any patent owners, patent applicants, or patent licensees for inventions that track, prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19. Applicants may team together to submit a single joint application as long as at least one applicant meets the eligibility criteria. Complete terms and conditions for Patents for Humanity: COVID-19 category.


Support the program

Your support is critical to making the Patents for Humanity program a success. First and foremost, we want potential applicants to know that it exists. We need help publicizing the program beyond our own communication channels in order to attract the best candidates. Help us spread the word about Patents for Humanity to those with game-changing technologies. Please feel free to use the ready-made material below.

It’s easy to help! You can:

  • Place the Patents for Humanity banner on your website.
  • Mention the program in your emails, newsletters, blogs, and other public communications.
  • Discuss the program with clients and colleagues.
  • Mention it in your presentations.
  • Invite USPTO speakers to conferences, meetings, and other events.

Resource materials