Press Releases

Bipartisan Bill Encouraging Humanitarian Innovation Passes House

Bicameral, bipartisan legislation supports innovation to solve global humanitarian needs

Washington, June 26, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10) joined Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA-06) in applauding the House passage of H.R. 7259, the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act. The legislation, introduced by Rep. McBath earlier this month,strengthens incentives for innovators to use their talents to solve global humanitarian challenges, and 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.

"With so many vexing humanitarian problems facing the world, it is more imperative than ever that we incentivize and recognize those who apply their technical expertise and ingenuity to solving them," said Chairman Nadler. "By passing the Patents for Humanity Improvement Act out of the House of Representatives, we are helping to shine a spotlight on those who are doing just that. I commend Representative McBath for leading on this important, bipartisan effort, joined by IP Subcommittee Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Roby, and Representative Cline."

"It’s truly important that we uplift those who use their skills to develop technology and ideas that benefit our world. This legislation encourages inventors to pursue life-saving ideas and solutions to the world’s global humanitarian challenges,"said McBath."Its passage is a wonderful example of all of us coming together in a bipartisan manner to help solve problems that impact millions, and I’m proud that we can do our part to expand this program and give 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 by providing for an accelerated review of patents, thus allowing inventors to more easily achieve their dreams and protect the fruits of their endeavors. I was proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill and am pleased that it unanimously passed the House yesterday."

"Intellectual property and innovation are what help our country thrive and flourish. The Patents for Humanity program highlights the ways that innovation and intellectual property can help solve global humanitarian challenges, and the legislation that passed the House last night will further promote this important program. I applaud Rep. McBath for leading this effort in the House and also thank Reps. Roby and Cline for their support of the bill,"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 support this 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.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where companion legislation is led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).Text of the legislation can be found online here.