Patents for Humanity Ceremony

Jennifer Lee: As you all know, Patents for
Humanity is a USPTO program that recognizes innovators
who use game changing technology to confront
humanitarian challenges around the world. Today we’re here to
recognize the seven recipients of the 2015
Patents for Humanity award. But before I share their
inspiring stories with you, it’s my pleasure to first
introduce the distinguished speakers who’ve graciously
joined us today. Our first speaker is
Dr. John Holdren. Dr. Holdren serves as
director of the White House Office of Science and
Technology Policy. He also serves as assistant
to the President for science and technology and co-chair
of the President’s Counsel Advisors on Science and
Technology, better known as PCAST. Please join me in welcoming
Dr. Holdren to the podium. (applause) Dr. John Holdren:
Well thank you Jennifer and thanks to all of you for
being here. It really is a pleasure to
welcome you on behalf of President Obama to this
remarkable event, and in so doing, to reaffirm
the President’s commitment and his administration’s
commitment to ensuring that this country is not only the
most innovative nation, the most innovative nation
it can be, but also an active
ambassador for global development and humanitarian
principles. I want to thank particularly
Undersecretary and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
Michelle Lee for her presence here, and for the
work she has done to advance this agenda, and let me
thank as well in advance, the various other
distinguished speakers and friends, both from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
and from civil society, that have joined us here. The President recognizes
that global development is an imperative. It’s vital to our national
security. It’s strategically
important, economically important, and
morally important. And one of the cornerstones
of this administration’s Global Development Policy is
investment in game changing innovations that have the
potential to solve the array of long-standing global
challenges that the world faces. The administration’s efforts
in that area focus on making the best use of the kinds of
scientific and technological breakthroughs that are
characteristic of America’s entrepreneurs, innovators
and researchers by expediting commercialization
of inventions for humanitarian purposes, and
by rewarding companies that use their patented
technologies to solve societal challenges. The American patent system
is a critical piece of our innovation economy and it’s
an important tool for addressing humanitarian
challenges around the world. That’s why this President
has voiced time and time again, his commitment to
pursuing commonsense legislation that curbs
abuses of the patent system, levels the playing field for
inventors, and promotes innovations
like the ones that we’re celebrating at this event. 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. This year’s awardees include
companies engaging in incredibly impressive work;
from supplying antimalarial compounds, to vitamin
enriched rice, to all-terrain wheelchairs
and more. Indeed that’s what the
Patents for Humanities program, which was launched
at the White House in February 2012, is all about. Specifically, that program
which is also sometimes known as P4H, probably
everybody here knows that already, creates business
incentives for the use of patented technologies to
address global, humanitarian and development
needs. The White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy has long recognized
the promise of these kinds of mechanisms for helping to
overcome market failures and catalyzing potentially game
changing innovations through market incentives. 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, whether through improving
public health and quality of life, providing new
opportunities to developing communities, or advancing
scientific understanding of key humanitarian issues. To the awardees here today,
your work is more than worthy of being celebrated. So on behalf of President
Obama and the White House Office of Science and
Technology Policy, I congratulate the winners,
and we look forward to the future innovations and
solutions that people in this room will undoubtedly
be generating. Thank you very much. (applause) Jennifer Lee:
Thank you very much Dr. Holdren for your
inspiring remarks with us this morning. As a registered patent
attorney, it is my humble honor to now
introduce the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual
Property, and director of the Business
Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle K. Lee. Undersecretary Lee is the
first woman to serve as director of USPTO. In this role, she serves as
a principal advisor on domestic and international
intellectual property matters, as well as a leader
and oversight provider for an agency of over 12,000
employees. She previously served as the
first director of USPTO’s Silicon Valley office and as
for the first head of patents and patent strategy
and deputy general counsel for Google. Please join me in welcoming
Undersecretary Lee. (applause) Michelle Lee:
Thank you and good morning everyone. It’s a real pleasure to be
here. Very much appreciate you
being here. I’d like to give a special
thanks to Jennifer Lee, Deputy General Counsel of
the Office of Science Technology and Policy, and
Ed Elliott. Where’s Ed? Sitting here in the front
row. USPTOs Patent for Humanity
program manager for helping us put this event together. We would not be here without
their hard work. And of course to Dr. Holdren
and Michael Oister for taking the time out of their
busy schedules to speak to us today. I’d also like to thank our
three partners for the 2014 Patents for Humanity award
cycle. The Association of
University Technology Managers, who solicited and
provided dozens of technical experts across its
membership to act as judges to evaluate their many super
qualified applications that we got. We appreciate their time and
effort. The Diplomacy Matters
Institute, which led our first targeted
outreach efforts to foreign embassies in the Washington
DC area. As can be seen from this
year’s results, our foreign colleagues
quickly embraced the program and many thanks to DMI. And the co-sponsor of this
award, and many other USPTO
programs, the National Inventors Hall
of Fame, which procured the trophies
you see sitting over here for our winners. So thank you to them as
well. And I also appreciate the
support that this program has received from our Patent
Office of Professional Association and their
President Robert Budens . And of course, last but not
least, the White House and the
Office of Science technology and Policy for arranging our
presence in this room. You can’t beat it. You may have noticed some of
the rooms’ nautical details. The constellation of stars
that are etched in the ceiling, the seahorses and
dolphins that run along the cast iron railing in the
second level, and I think there’s a
compass in the middle of the floor there in the center of
the room. They date back to the late
19th century when the Department of Navy moved
into the East Wing. As they seem especially
appropriate in today’s ceremony because in many
ways the Patents for Humanity program is like a
beacon for innovators, leading them to the full
potential of their innovation in the service of
humanity. It’s an example of the great
things that can be accomplished when
intellectual property rights and innovation work together
to solve truly global problems. In a ceremony at the USPTO a
little over two weeks ago, we marked the 225th
anniversary of the First Patent Act, signed into law
by President George Washington in 1790. The words of that act, any
useful art, manufacturer, engine, machine or device,
or any improvement thereon, laid the ground work for
more than two centuries of cumulative innovation that
transformed our nation and our way of life in ways that
President Washington and his founding fathers could never
have imagined. The only U.S. President ever to own a
United States patent, Abraham Lincoln, once said
that patents added the fuel of interest to the fire of
genius in the discovery and production of new and useful
things, and that has never been
truer than it is today. In recent years, we’ve seen
the profound impact that a good idea, patented and
marketed, can have on human beings. Transcending national
borders and transforming the lives around the world. It’s because of that
transformative power that we are here today. We want to showcase the
laudable work of patent owners to address
21st-century humanitarian challenges and demonstrate
how patents can and do help build a better world. Consider what these award
winners have been able to accomplish. They have found new and
innovative ways as Dr. Holdren mentioned, to
combat malaria, tuberculosis, and
malnutrition, improve basic sanitation,
provide light through solar power and increase the
mobility of disabled people all in some of the world’s
most disadvantaged and underserved regions. And given the global impact
of our program, I think it’s especially
noteworthy that among this year’s Patent for Humanity
winners are foreign recipients from France,
Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In addition to the very
tangible benefits, their innovations and those
of their fellow award winners will deliver, they
will also inspire others to bring the power of
innovation to bear on more of the world’s most pressing
humanitarian challenges. At the USPTO, we get
inquiries all the time from inventors hoping to follow
in our winners’ footsteps. That’s the difference
Patents for Humanity and its award winners are making in
the world; not just innovating, but
inspiring the next generation of innovators. So I’d like to congratulate
all of you for being part of this great and noble effort. You are all truly amazing
innovators in the benefit of your work, what you have
done is incalculable. Your groundbreaking efforts
are making a difference in the lives of millions of
people across this globe and the example that you set
will inspire and guide countless more. Thank you all for coming
today and thank you to the White House and all of you
for making this possible. (applause) Jennifer Lee:
Thank you Undersecretary Lee. We next have a few words
from the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Since 1973 the Hall of Fame
has recognized over 500 world-class inventors and
their life-changing innovations. In addition to inventor
recognition programs, the Hall of Fame and its
parents organization, Invent Now, educates nearly 100, 000 grade school children
every year with hands on experience in the wonders of
innovation. The Hall of Fame has
generously provided the beautiful trophies for
today’s ceremony, as Undersecretary Lee
mentioned. We are glad to have with us
today the CEO of the Hall of Fame, Mr. Michael Oister. Please join me in welcoming
Mr. Oister. (applause) Michael Oister:
Thank you. You know, it’s a great honor
to be here and represent the National Inventors Hall of
Fame. I don’t feel worthy of
representing those 500 amazing people and I’m
equally amazed by this group. We applaud the United States
Patent and Trademark Office for not only issuing patents
and trademarks, but really also helping
educate society on the big picture, which is the
importance of innovation. Our collaboration with the
USPTO has no greater purpose than to acknowledge the
creative efforts of life-saving and life
enhancing inventors for the benefit of humanity and to
inspire the next generation. Like our National Inventors
Hall of Fame inductees, the Patents for Humanity
award winners are the best possible role models we can
find for more than 100, 000 kindergarten through
12th grade children, and the 10,000 teachers we
impact on an annual basis through programs like Camp
Invention invention project in our intellectual property
literacy programs across the country in 2,000 school
districts. I would also be remiss if I
didn’t recognize one of our collegiate inventor’s
competition winners. Steve Katsaros was in the
first class of Patents for Humanity’s winners. Finally, I want to invite
you to attend the 43rd annual National Inventors
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Innovation ECHO
forum on May 12 and May 13. It is held in partnership
with the USPTO and hosted by the Smithsonian. I must say its the greatest
celebration of American innovation and an experience
you will not forget. Again, thank you on behalf
of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and
congratulations to this years of Patents for
Humanity winners. (applause) Jennifer Lee: And
now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the
presentation of the awards. I’ll read a description of
each winner, after which, their invited
representatives will come up to the stage from this side
and take a photo with Undersecretary Lee in front
of the trophies. I’m going to begin with the
category of medicine. In the category of medicine,
there are two winners. The first is Sanofi for
supplying large quantities of antimalarial compounds on
a at cost basis for use in developing countries. Artemisinin is an
antimalarial drug derived from the sweet wormwood
plant in Asia and Africa. Supplies can be expensive or
unavailable at certain times of the year due to growing
cycles, crop yields and weather. Building on research by the
University of California Berkeley and the Gates
Foundation to produce Artemisinin from yeast,
Sanofi used its manufacturing expertise to
scale into industrial levels and it is now supplying
large quantities of Artemisinin antimalarial
compounds on a no profit, no loss basis for use in
developing countries. Representing Sanofi are Alan
Verner, Robert Ceveg, Filipe Sheroe. Please welcome Sanofi’s
representatives. (applause) (applause) Jennifer Lee: Congratulations. The second recipient in
medicine is Novartis. Novartis discovered a class
of compounds that are active against drug sensitive and
multi-drug resistant strains of tuberculosis or TB. TB kills more adults
worldwide than any infectious disease besides
HIV-AIDS. One of the biggest
challenges in combatting multidrug resistant TB is
providing the drugs in a way that will reach the people
who need them the most. Novartis has graciously
provided its entire tuberculosis R and D program
to the TB Alliance- a nonprofit organization that
seeks new and improved tuberculosis treatment
regimens for further development. Representing Novartis are
Leslie Fisher, Paul Fellner and Arlene
Musser. Please join me in welcoming
the representatives from Novartis. (applause) (applause) Jennifer Lee: Our next category of award winners is
in sanitation. This year’s winner is
American Standard for distributing 700,000 SATO
safe toilet latrine pans to communities in Africa and
Southeast Asia. American Standard Inventor,
the SATO safe toilet technology for people who
lack access to safe, basic sanitation. The toilet includes
specifically especially designed latrine pans and
collectors with a counter-weighted trapdoor
that can be flushed by pouring a small amount of
water onto it. When closed, the flipper
door creates an airtight seal that prevents insects
from entering and exiting the pit, thus eliminating a
primary route of disease transmission. Over 700,000 of these plans
have been distributed throughout the world,
including in Bangladesh, Uganda, Haiti, Malawi, and
the Philippines through partnerships with UNICEF,
Save the Children and other nongovernmental
organizations. Representing American
Standard here today are Jim McHale, Diagoli Schiama and
Greg Gutaris, the inventors of the
technology. (applause) (applause) Jennifer Lee: Congratulations. Our next category is energy
and our energy recipient is Sunpower Corporation for
providing portable solar powered energy stations to
replace kerosene in Philippine villages. Nearly 18% of the world’s
population is energy impoverished. Combustion-based lighting
such as kerosene lamps, contribute to an estimated
3.5 million deaths each year from health impacts and
house fires. For these communities,
Sunpower has developed a portable solar power station
by outfitting a standard shipping container with
solar panels on top and equipment inside to power
hundreds of safe rechargeable lanterns. Villagers in the Philippines
can rent these lanterns for a small fee, which is then
reinvested to expand and improve the program. Sunpower donates the
container and supplies to partner organizations along
with ongoing technical support. Representing Sunpower today
are Eric Wingrove, Marissa Yell and David
Patrini. Please join me in welcoming
Sunpower. (applause) (applause) Jennifer Lee: Our next category is nutrition and we
are fortunate to have two winners in nutrition this
year. The first is Nutriset. A small company based in
France for fighting childhood maltrition
with their Plumpy Nut products. According to UNICEF, as many
as 67 million children suffer from acute
malnutrition every year. Children suffering from
prolonged malnutrition often cannot digest ordinary food. Nutriset developed
nutritional products made from peanuts and other
ingredients that helped malnourished children
quickly and safely regain weight and digestive
function. In addition to delivering
their Plumpy Nut products throughout the world with
partners like UNICEF and USAID, Nutriset also offers
open licensing to producers in the developing world so
communities can work toward self-sufficiency. Representing Nutriset are
Tomah Qualle, Adeline Laskin-Gaultier and
Maria Casperiom from their U.S. licensee ADCF. (applause) (applause) Jennifer Lee: Congratulations. The second winner in
nutrition is Golden Rice for creating vitamin A enriched
strains of rice to prevent blindness and death in
subsistence farming communities. Vitamin A deficiency is a
leading killer of children globally and is also the
leading cause of childhood blindness. Most cases occur in Asia
where the staple food, white rice, lacks vitamin A
sources typically found in animal products and leafy
vegetables. Golden Rice was genetically
engineered to provide a source of vitamin A for
people subsisting mainly on rice. The Golden Rice Project has
worked since 2000 to donate Golden Rice to the
resource-poor in developing countries. Local Golden Rice varieties
are currently being developed by public sector
institutions in Bangladesh China, India, Indonesia, the
Philippines and Vietnam. Farmers are free to plant,
grow, harvest, sell, and re-plant the seed
without licenses or fees for use. Representing Golden Rice are
Adrian Juback and Robert Russell. (applause) (laughter) (applause) Jennifer Lee: And last but not least, in the
category of living standards, we recognize
GRIT, Global Research Innovation
and Technology, for developing in
all-terrain wheelchair. An estimated 65 million
people in the developing world require wheelchairs. However, conventional
wheelchairs don’t function well on the rough and uneven
terrain commonly encountered in many developing regions. GRIT was created by
engineering graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology to increase mobility for the disabled
around the world. Their three wheel Leveraged
Freedom Chair uses a push lever drive train. I don’t know what that is
but that sounds pretty amazing on its own. (laughter) To help people
over broken pavement, dirt roads, fields, hills
and rocky terrain. It’s built from standard
bicycle parts to enable local repairs with available
materials. After graduating, the MIT
students founded GRIT to bring the product to market. Their chair has been
distributed in partnership with the World Bank, the Red
Cross, and others in India, Brazil, Kenya and other
countries. Representing GRIT are Ben
Judge and Tish Schulnik and representing MIT is Dr. Amos
Winter, who helped invent the
Leveraged Freedom Chair. (applause) Jennifer Lee:
Congratulations to all of the 2015 Patents for
Humanity award winners. Your creative innovations
and tireless efforts are making a difference in the
lives of millions of people. I would like to thank
Undersecretary Lee, Mr. Oister and Doctor
Holdren, all of the many people from
USPTO and OSTP who put this event together, Jennifer
Morat, Jessica Peliciata, Lauren Smith, Troy Lee,
Edward Elliott, Judy Grundy and many other
folks who this event would not have been possible
without. This concludes our ceremony. We welcome you to stay and
enjoy this beautiful room. There will be beverages and
refreshments outside. At this time, I would like
the winner’s to please stay so that we could take a
group photo with all of you in the front of the room. Thank you all very much for
coming. (applause)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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