Patents for Humanity

Patents for Humanity invention images


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Patents for Humanity is the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) awards competition recognizing 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 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 program is open to all types of patent holders, applicants, and licensees. The application period for Patents for Humanity 2020 has closed. Winners were announced in August 2020. Please contact us if you have any questions.


The competition is open to any patent owners, patent applicants, or patent licensees. Applicants may team together to submit a single joint application as long as at least one applicant meets the eligibility criteria. View the complete terms and conditions for 2019. View the complete terms and conditions for the Patents for Humanity: COVID-19 category competition.


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.

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