US Patent Office Expands Green Technology Accelerated Examination Program: More categories of invention are now eligible for expedited processing

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is overhauling its Green Technology Pilot Program in the hopes of attracting more green technology applications.

In December of 2009, the Green Technology Pilot program was initiated to draw more inventors to submit applications relating to energy conservation, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental quality, and renewable energy systems.

Under the new guidelines, applicants will no longer be restricted to specific classifications which limited the scope of what was considered green technology. These new guidelines will expand the range of categories of technology that are acceptable for acceleration through the patent process, which will allow more inventions associated with green technologies to be expedited through the review and examination process.

The is good news considering the recent environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. This policy shift mirrors the Obama Administration’s commitment to finding and implementing new sources for clean energy, especially in the areas of fuel efficiency and less dependence on oil.

If you are interested in this pilot program, you will need to file a petition to make special under the Pilot Program for Green Technologies that complies with all the requirements set forth in the Federal Register notice on this topic which was dated December 8, 2009. The USPTO has waived any fees for participation in this program.

Petitions need to be filed before December 8, 2010, and only the first 3,000 petitions will be considered for this program. Only 350 applications out of 1,000 have been granted to date; partly because of the previous limitations, so the number of applications are expected to increase dramatically.

If you previously submitted a petition and were denied, you can file a renewed petition. But you will need to submit the renewed application no later than June 30, 2010 in order for it to be considered priority status from the date of the initial filing. Each application must also comply with all of the requirements for special status.

The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos has stated that “…we would like to enable applicants whose inventions did not fall within the initial classifications eligible for the program to be eligible”.

For additional information about this program, and to see the specific guidelines, you can go to the Green Technology Pilot Program page at the USPTO’s Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/green_tech.jsp.

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Tags: clean energy, environmental catastrophe, Federal Register, Green Technology, Intellectual Property, Pilot Program, US Patent Office, USPTO

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