Irwin Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi, two of the co-founders of San Diego’s Qualcomm Inc., are among this year’s inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The hall, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., inducts only inventors whose creations are covered by a U.S. patent and whose work “has changed society and improved the quality of life,” according to the organization.

Jacobs and Viterbi were the major contributors to creating the software code that allows for the basic operation of many of the world’s cellphones called CDMA or code division multiple access. CDMA now supports more than 1.6 billion subscribers with voice and high speed Internet access, and was standardized in North America in 1993.

The business they founded in 1985 did about $19 billion in sales last year, and has some 21,000 global employees, including about 12,000 in San Diego.

Among the other inductees to the hall at a May 1 ceremony are the late Robert Moog, the inventor of the synthesizer; the late Samuel Alderson, the inventor of the crash test dummy; and the three creators of the flat panel plasma display.

“We are honored to recognize these individuals who conceived, patented, and advanced so many of the great technological achievements that have changed our world,” said Teresa Stanek Rea, the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for intellectual property.

— Mike Allen