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Leahy and Coons Reintroduce Legislation to Encourage the Humanitarian Work of American Innovators

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Committee member Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) reintroduced legislation Thursday that encourages the use of patented technology to address humanitarian needs. The bill strengthens an awards program created last year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Patents for Humanity Program, which recognizes patent holders who use their technology to improve the quality of life in impoverished countries.

Leahy also joined with Acting USPTO Director Teresa Stanek Rea today to recognize the first award-winners under the Patents for Humanity initiative. For their work, recipients of this award are granted faster processing of certain USPTO matters.

"In my time in the Senate, I have worked to promote policies that encourage intellectual property holders to apply their work to address global humanitarian challenges," said Leahy, who with Coons introduced similar legislation last year. "Today, I am pleased to join with Senator Coons in reintroducing the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act to again advance such policies."

Coons said "The Patents for Humanity program is a terrific opportunity for enterprising innovators to make a real difference in the world."

"As we continue the important task of modernizing our nation's patent system, this bill would expand the program's value by incentivizing first-time inventors and researchers to confront the humanitarian challenges of our time," Coons added. "I thank Chairman Leahy for his sustained leadership on this and other intellectual property issues, and look forward to working with him to help this good idea become law."

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