Press Releases

Chairman Nadler Statement for the Markup of H.R. 5796, the Patents for Humanity Act of 2021

Washington, December 8, 2021

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, during the markup of H.R. 5796, the Patents for Humanity Act of 2021: 

"H.R. 5796, the 'Patents for Humanity Act of 2021,' is bipartisan legislation to codify an awards program started by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a pilot program in 2012, and later made permanent by the Office, designed to bring additional recognition to inventors and inventions that make a meaningful contribution to humanitarian causes.

"The Office has defined 'humanitarian' to mean helping impoverished populations, and it has specified five categories in particular to receive recognition: medicine, nutrition, sanitation, household energy, and living standards.

"Since 2012, the Office has recognized numerous award recipients across a range of technologies and different kinds of inventors, companies, and nonprofits, aimed at helping people at home in the U.S. and abroad, all in keeping with the program’s aim to be technology-neutral, business-model-neutral, and geography-neutral.  With the award comes public recognition and a small prize in the form of a certificate that can be used to accelerate certain examination proceedings at the USPTO. 

"Earlier this year, thanks to the leadership of Representative McBath, the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act, was signed into law.  That legislation allows the awards certificate to be transferable in the event that the award recipient would prefer to seek its free market value rather than accelerate a different patent application.

"I am pleased that we are building on that important law with this bill today, making permanent a program that highlights how innovation and the patent system can improve the lives of those most in need.  H.R. 5796 would codify this awards program, while preserving the ability of the Director to modify it through rulemaking going forward if needed. 

"I applaud Representatives Jeffries and Spartz for spearheading this bipartisan bill, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation."