Abstract: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been under increased pressure to expedite the handling of patent applications directed to technology that materially enhances the quality of the environment. In an effort to expedite the handling and examination of patent applications directed to green technology, the USPTO has announced the Green Technology Pilot Program.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced the Green Technology Pilot Program, which allows patent applications directed to certain types of “green” technology to undergo accelerated examination. In particular, patent applications directed to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy, or greenhouse gas reduction may be advanced out of turn for examination.
According to the USPTO, applications accepted into the pilot program will see, on an average, a reduction of the average time—from filing of the application to the first office action—of from 40 months to 30 months. However, only the first 3,000 petitions will be accepted into the pilot program and, unless extended, the program will expire no later than December 7, 2010.
It should be noted that the pilot program is available only to patent applications that were filed before December 8, 2009, and that have not yet received a first-office action. Eligible patent applications will be considered for the pilot program after filing a Petition to Make Special with the USPTO, which must be accompanied by a Request for Early Publication of the patent application along with a publication filing fee of $300. An Examination Support Document is not required under this program and the petition fee has been waived.