The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is searching for America’s top innovators via nominations for the 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation has been awarded by presidents of the United States since 1985; it is, according to the USPTO “the highest honor that can be attained for making contributions to America’s competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through advances in what the Framers called ‘the useful arts’” in the Constitution.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple were among the first recipients in 1985; other notable award winners include Bill Gates of Microsoft (1992), Douglas Engelbart, creator of the computer mouse (2000), and companies such as Merck & Co. (1992), IBM (2000, 2008), and eBay Inc. (2007).
According to the USPTO:
Nominees will be judged on the basis of how their contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being have advanced the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts, technological innovation, and the strengthening of the nation’s technological work force.
Anyone can make a nomination for the award at the USPTO website; six letters of support are required. The deadline for nominations for this year’s awards is March 31, 2012.