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USPTO Announces New Patents For Humanity Green Energy Category

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By Godson Umejiego, Bureau Chief, The Americas

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that it has launched a special category of its Patents for Humanity Program for green energy inventions. This new award category 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,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Patents for Humanity programme reminds us of the strength that human ingenuity can bring to solving humanity’s most pressing problems.”

“Our nation’s innovation community is playing a crucial role in devising creative solutions to the challenge of climate change,” said USPTO Director Kathi Vidal. “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.”

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 will receive a certificate to accelerate USPTO processing for one eligible matter (such as an ex parte reexamination proceeding or a patent application), as well as public recognition of their work. The certificate now has more options for use than those given in previous competitions. 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. It is the USPTO’s top honor for patent applicants devising game-changing innovations to address long-standing development challenges. Their success stories can inspire others to harness innovation for human progress. Interested parties who are developing or who have developed technologies related to green energy are eligible to submit an application for this award once they file a patent application.

The USPTO is now accepting applications for the Patents for Humanity Green Energy category. For more information about how to apply, visit the Patents for Humanity page on the USPTO website.

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