Patents for Humanity honors innovators who improve the world

Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT) received recognition for developing the Leveraged Freedom Chair. (Courtesy of GRIT)

What do all-terrain wheelchair innovators, anti-malarial compound suppliers and safe toilet distributors share in common?

They are some of the 2015 Patents for Humanity competition awardees.

“At its core, Patents for Humanity aims to reward forward-thinking, socially conscious inventors who have demonstrated uses of their patented technologies to make the world a better place,” said White House Science Adviser John Holdren during the program’s April 20 awards ceremony.

Launched by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2012, the competition is open to patent owners, patent applicants and patent licensees. They can start the application process through the Patent Office website.

Patents for Humanity 2015 awardees (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Entrants from around the world compete in five categories — medicine, sanitation, household energy, nutrition and living standards. These are the 2015 winners:

  • Medicine — Sanofi for supporting anti-malarial treatment efforts and Novartis AG for identifying new compounds for potentially treating drug-resistant tuberculosis.

  • Sanitation — American Standard for distributing 700,000 safe toilet latrine pans to Africa and Southeast Asia.

  • Energy — SunPower Corp. for providing rechargeable lanterns as a safer alternative to kerosene lanterns in Philippine areas.

  • Nutrition — Nutriset for working with global partners to fight child malnutrition with distribution of a patented food formula and Golden Rice for creating enriched rice that helps prevent blindness.

  • Living standards — GRIT: Global Research Innovation & Technology for developing an all-terrain wheelchair that uses readily available bicycle parts.

“Today’s awardees are private sector leaders who have answered President Obama’s call to unleash science, technology and innovation to help solve global development challenges,” Holdren said.