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USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge

About the Challenge
Use patent data to reveal new insights on cancer research, treatments through visualization & interactive mapping

Posted By: Department of Commerce
Category: Designs
Skill: Graphic Design Interest: Science & Research Submission Dates: 12 a.m. ET, Aug 22, 2016 - 5 p.m. ET, Sep 19, 2016 Winners Announced: Sep 27, 2016

“In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Obama called upon the nation to harness the spirit of American innovation by identifying new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.”

– Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee


Cancer is undoubtedly a disease that touches all our lives. Ending cancer as we know it requires the formation of new alliances. As President Obama noted, getting this done isn’t just going to take the best and brightest across the medical, research, and data communities — but millions of Americans owning a stake of it. By harnessing the power of patent data, and accelerating the process for protecting the intellectual property that lead to cancer immunotherapy breakthroughs, the USPTO is standing up and doing its part to help bring potentially life-saving treatments to patients, faster.


With data released through the USPTO Developer Hub, users are building rich visualizations of intellectual property data, an early indicator of meaningful innovation and research and development (R&D), and combining this data with other state or agency data, such as census and bureau of labor statistics; and/or economic, and financial data. These types of visualizations demonstrate the power of telling complex stories that lead to impactful insights and ask why the data matter. Similarly, we challenge you to create and illuminate new trend lines and interactive mappings of innovation with visualizations for all types of cancer treatments and diagnostics by combining our data with other unique data. Be sure to list the sources of your data sets (i.e. orange book data from FDA), tools and assumptions used to form your conclusion and visualizations. Imagine your data visualizations will be the foundation to empower the federal government—as well as the medical, research, and data communities—to make more precise funding and policy decisions based on the commercialization lifecycle of the most promising treatments, while maximizing U.S. competitiveness in cancer investments.

Using analytic tools, processes and  other interoperable data sets, we are challenging you to develop interactive visualizations and stories that can help reveal new insights to guide public policy and research to achieve the goal of doubling the rate of progress toward a cure.  For example, you could address questions such as:


  • What new insights can be revealed by correlating R&D spending/funding to breakthrough technologies? How would you define or cluster the broad spectrum of cancer treatments, therapies and/or diagnostics?
  • What would trace studies of commercially successful treatments from patent to product tell us? What data insights can be gleaned from understanding the time it takes bring patents to patients?
  • What are the peaks and valleys in the landscape of cancer treatment technologies?


  • If you were the Director of NIH or other agency, given what you have learned from this patent data and your research, how would you prioritize your cancer research budget? (FY2014 National Cancer Institute budget was $4.932 billion).
  • Based on cluster mapping of cancer treatments, therapies and/or diagnostics, what policy would you put in place to promote certain technologies? For example, would you promote treatment to make cancer a livable disease verses curing?
  • Is there any measurable relationship between patent data, clinical trial data and time to it takes for the technology to be in the hands of the patient. If so, how and what catalyst for innovation and policy changes would you advise the VPOTUS for the Cancer Moonshot.


The USPTO has released a curated data set consisting of 269,353 patent documents (published patent applications and granted patents) spanning the 1976 to 2016 period.  This data and associated documentation explaining our methodology can be found on the USPTO Developer Hub.

An online informational session was held via Webex on 8/25/2016 at 3:00 PM EST.  Please visit us at the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge Info Session page to see the answers to your questions about the challenge and the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Patent data set.


Visit the USPTO National Cancer Moonshot page for more information.


As the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative looks to build public-private partnerships with industry, governments, health systems, non-profits, philanthropy, research institutes, patients, and academia, those interested in advancing the Cancer Moonshot can join today by visiting

Judging Criteria

Creativity & Innovation - 20%

- Uniqueness and innovation in approach to revealing new insights to guide public policy and research.
- Concept should be original, fill a gap or answer a question in a manner that is not already available.

Evidence Base & Effectiveness - 20%

- Provide meaningful insight, including potential actions and discoveries, using patent-related data to better inform funding and policy decisions or uncover insights into the cancer R&D process.
- How did you arrive at and validate your story? Did you include additional complimentary datasets to help solidify your story? What additional knowledge sources did you use?

Value to public - 20%

Concept should add value to the medical, research, or data communities and policymakers — to make more informed funding and policy decisions based on the patterns and trends of innovation in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Usability - 20%

The design elements should attract, engage and influence actions from the public and policymakers.

Functional Product - 20%

The visualization should have demonstrable functionality as described in project description.

How to Enter

By Sept. 19, 2016, 5:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, submit the following items through

  • A story (maximum 1,000 words).  Written in English, that tells the story of your visualization and walks users through “how to use” your visualization. The document must describe how your visualization provides meaningful insight, including potential actions and/or discoveries.
  • Access to and testing instructions for your submission. This can be appended to your visualization description and does not count toward the 1,000 word maximum.
  • Link to the submission. We will not accept any submission without a link.
First Place $5,000.00 Won by: Dolcera
Solution: Dolcera – Visualisation for Cancer Moonshot Challenge
Description: Visualized how the genetics and epidemiology of cancer relate to levels of research funding, patenting, and clinical testing
Second Place $3,000.00 Won by: Booz Allen Hamilton and Omnity
Solution: NIH / USPTO Cancer Network Miner by Booz Allen Hamilton and Omnity
Description: Constructed and visualized networks of cancer-related patents and federal research grants based on NIH co-funding and the degree of linguistic similarity between patent documents.
Third Place $2,000.00 Won by: Thomson Reuters and the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Solution: Cancer InnovationVU
Description: Illustrated how the epidemiology of cancer mortality relates to patenting and funding timelines.

10 Discussions for "USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge"

  • Great to see those nice solutions. I didn't make the 5pm cut due to my network connection issue. But like to contribute and share a finding on the data set. There seems to be 109 duplicated entries with the following patent_or_publication_id: US 20090061461 A1 US 20090181090 A1 US 4329346 A US 4498485 A US 4518589 A US 4530901 A US 4533672 A US 4535183 A US 4541953 A US 4550159 A US 4556677 A US 4562204 A US 4643895 A US 4663306 A US 4732864 A US 4737453 A US 5194370 A US 5340719 A US 5359047 A US 5362720 A US 5510327 A US 5538869 A US 5599811 A US 5602166 A US 5605905 A US 5614381 A US 5614535 A US 5614628 A US 5616468 A US 5620886 A US 5627173 A US 5629166 A US 5629184 A US 5629293 A US 5633000 A US 5633016 A US 5635177 A US 5639621 A US 5639725 A US 5641673 A US 5641860 A US 5667981 A US 5797873 A US 5916596 A US 5920601 A US 5925671 A US 5925730 A US 5932694 A US 5935962 A US 5936097 A US 5958378 A US 5959125 A US 5965722 A US 6015938 A US 6017923 A US 6022860 A US 6025334 A US 6025340 A US 6087392 A US 6087441 A US 6096313 A US 6096520 A US 6103697 A US 6103713 A US 6106805 A US 6107305 A US 6169104 B1 US 6184422 B1 US 6194437 B1 US 6200960 B1 US 6214872 B1 US 6218375 B1 US 6218418 B1 US 6222012 B1 US 6232338 B1 US 6235525 B1 US 6297274 B1 US 6306827 B1 US 6306902 B1 US 6307051 B1 US 6307068 B1 US 6310247 B1 US 6316425 B1 US 6316462 B1 US 6326403 B1 US 6417188 B1 US 6423869 B1 US 6472521 B1 US 6479285 B1 US 6492116 B1 US 6559183 B1 US 6593326 B1 US 6593342 B1 US 6593344 B1 US 6613879 B1 US 6689787 B1 US 6689922 B1 US 6696446 B1 US 6716856 B1 US 6727062 B1 US 6767996 B1 US 6955877 B1 US 7201913 B1 US 7320993 B1 US 7683024 B2 US 8183280 B2 US 8314067 B1 US RE44512 E US RE46024 E

    • Reply
      No – submissions require that you register with . You have the option to make the entry “hidden” so that it’s not publically visible on the site. The identities of the winners will be made public so that prizes can be awarded.

  • Show Replies [+]
    I hope there is no requirement to provide an interactive dashboard as a deliverable. It takes a lot longer to design a meaningful useful patent dashboard using tableau public (or other publically available resources).

  • Show Replies [+]
    Is it possible to have additional bibliographic information (as much as possible especially patent assignee, inventor, agent or attorney, priority dates, patent families) that may have been inadvertently removed when the data was posted?

    • Reply
      To include additional information, you can join the dataset to the data from for disambiguated inventor information and other metadata. Alternatively, consider the Patex dataset for metadata viewable from Public Pair:

    Targeting the tumors with it's signature receptor/s and killing the tumors with suitable cyto-toxic agent appears to be very appealing

  • Show Replies [+]
    Sarim Akbar
    It will be interesting to see what type of cancer treatment is most prevalent in the patent filing database. Whether it's radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, drugs, etc. That would tell us which treatment is getting the most funding from industry, government, or other sources. Then tying that in with what treatment type is most prevalent in clinical trials. If say, most clinical trials in 2005 focused on radiation therapy methods and then most patent applications filed in 2008 were related to radiation therapy methods, I think that can give a hint or show some sort of pattern of clinical trials to patent submission timeline.

    • Reply
      Mara Kragulj
      I understood some of your terminology descriptions & am replying, "why not we all step outside &relax few wks at the beach , in the Sun! I believe that would cure a lot of what is medically bothering societies.", ! Just saying! Thoughts Please! Looking forward too!

Add to the Discussion

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Allocating Funding to Reduce Cancer Mortality
Goal: create a visualization that shows how patent filings in the nine patent ca
Interactive Patent Dashboard and Visualization Tool
DESCRIPTION: In the fight against cancer, data analytics has been, and wi
Cancer Moonshot: Patent Data Story
We would appreciate any feedback on our submission, as to validate our approach and see the outco
Intellar Visualization System Reveals Valuable Insights in Melanoma Landscape
Repeated from 1000-word attachment as submission: The best visualizations transfer knowled
Dolcera – Visualisation for Cancer Moonshot Challenge
Executive Summary • There is very high-correlation between high patent c
Patents Statanalyzer
A Tableau Public vizualization solution “Patents Statanalyzer
NIH / USPTO Cancer Network Miner by Booz Allen Hamilton and Omnity
Booz Allen and Omnity partnered to develop NIH / USPTO Cancer Network Miner which shows how indiv
Discovering Insights in the Cancer Moonshot Patent Data Set
“Discovering Insights in the Cancer Moonshot Patent Data Set” These Cancer Moons
USPTO Cancer Patents Analyzer
USPTO Cancer Patents Analyzer is a visualization tool to gain insights from cancer patents data b
Technology Trends and Policy Implications for Cancer Moonshot Challenge
Executive summary (Word) and documentation (PowerPoint) are attached.   &nbs
Cancer InnovationVU
Cancer Innovation Visualization & Understanding (Cancer InnovationVU)
Cancer Moonshot Visualization Technique
The best way to visualize data is by simplifying subsets and maki

To be eligible to win a prize under this challenge, an individual or entity—

(1) Shall have registered to participate in the competition under the rules promulgated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

(2) Shall have complied with all the requirements under this section.

(3) In the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

(4) May not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

(5) Shall not be an USPTO employee working on their applications or submissions during assigned duty hours.

(6) Federal grantees may not use federal funds to develop applications unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award.

(7) Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop applications or to fund efforts in support of a challenge submission.

An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made equitably available to all individuals and entities participating in the competition.

Entrants must agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the federal government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from my participation in this prize contest, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.

Entrants must also agree to indemnify the federal government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to competition activities. By entering into this competition, entrants represent that the they possess liability insurance or are otherwise financially responsible for 1) claims by a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in the competition, with the Federal Government named as an additional insured under the Entrant’s insurance policy, if any, and 2) claims by the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity.

By submitting an entry to this competition you represent and warrant that your submission:

  • is your own work and not copied. If we have reason to believe that your submission is not your own work then we may not consider it;
  • does not contain any third party intellectual property rights and/or content that you do not have permission to use;
  • is not obscene, defamatory or in breach of any applicable legislation or regulations.

General Conditions: USPTO reserves the right to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the Challenge, or any part of it, for any reason, at USPTO’s sole discretion.


  • Each submission must use at least the USPTO Cancer research dataset provided.
  • Your submission must be relevant to a U.S. audience and must be in the English language only.
  • You are responsible for the cost and expense (if any) of sending your submission to us and, if your submission is selected, either attending in person an awards event demo at the USPTO on Sept. 26,2016 or  submitting a video of your presentation to be shared at the event.
  • Only one project submission is permitted per person or group. In the event of a dispute over the identity of an entrant, the submission will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the email account of the email address submitted during the registration process.

Submissions that do not adhere to the requirements listed above will be automatically disqualified.


Ownership of intellectual property is determined by the following:

  • Each entrant retains title and full ownership in and to their submission.  Entrants expressly reserve all intellectual property rights not expressly granted under the Challenge agreement.
  • By participating in the challenge, each entrant hereby irrevocably grants to sponsor and administrator a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide license and right to reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, and use the submission to the extent necessary to administer the challenge, and to publicly perform and publicly display the submission, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the challenge.
  • All entrants are encouraged to open source your code to the extent possible as a continuing contribution to cancer research.
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