The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is looking for ideas on how to incentivize the creation, and wider distribution of, technologies that address humanitarian needs.
One proposed pilot program would allow patent holders to put any patent on a faster track to approval if they also share technology that address humanitarian purposes. The technologies include treatments for tropical diseases, diagnostic medical tools, methods to grow crops with higher yields or better nutritional value, and treatments for sanitation or clean water. Participants can qualify for the proposed pilot in two ways. One is by making their patented technologies available to impoverished populations for humanitarian use.
Because patents under re-examination are often commercially valuable, the fast-track re-examination allows a patent owner to affirm the validity of their patent more quickly and less expensively.
More information about the proposed fast-track re-examination voucher pilot program can be found in the Federal Register.