In a pilot program recently announced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Ã¢â‚¬Å“USPTOÃ¢â‚¬Â), many environmentally-friendly patent applications may obtain special status and be examined out-of-turn without the most burdensome aspects of previous programs. Benefits for qualifying applications include reduced documentation and burdensome pre-examination analysis by the Applicant and quicker review by Examiners. It is estimated that this program could shave as much as a year or more off the pendency of a so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“greenÃ¢â‚¬Â patent application.
However, on December 8, 2009, the U.S. Patent Office announced it would accelerate the examinations of applications pertaining to certain green technologies, such as applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable resources or greenhouse gas emissions reduction. This new program makes it much, much less burdensome for those wanting accelerated examination of their green inventions.
The good news with the Ã¢â‚¬Å“green pilot programÃ¢â‚¬Â is that no search is required, nor is an examination support document necessary. Therefore, the most burdensome requirements of the accelerated examination program have been removed for green inventions. In addition, (as with previous acceleration programs) the petition fee of $130 for accelerated examination is waived for green inventions.
Once again, there is a catch, but the burden placed on Applicants is not nearly as heavy as before. The catch is that the USPTO will accept Ã¢â‚¬Å“only the first 3,000 petitionsÃ¢â‚¬Â filed before December 8, 2010, unless the program is extended. In addition, an Applicant must satisfy some other simple requirements, and the subject matter of the application must fall within one of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“greenÃ¢â‚¬Â classifications specified.
December 29, 2009 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
Pilot Program for Green Technologies Including Greenhouse Gas Reduction
SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is implementing a pilot program in which an applicant may have an application
advanced out of turn (accorded special status) for examination, for applications pertaining to green technologies including greenhouse gas
reduction (applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy resources or greenhouse gas
emission reduction). Currently, an application pertaining to environmental quality, or energy conservation, development of renewable energy resources
or greenhouse gas reduction will not be advanced out of turn for examination unless it meets the requirements of the accelerated examination
program. Under the Green Technology Pilot Program, applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable
energy, or greenhouse gas emission reduction, will be advanced out of turn for examination without meeting all of the current requirements of the
accelerated examination program (e.g., examination support document). The USPTO will accept only the first 3,000 petitions to make special in
previously filed new applications, provided that the petitions meet the requirements set forth in this notice.
DATES: Effective Date: December 8, 2009.
Duration: The Green Technology Pilot Program will run for twelve months from its effective date. Therefore, petitions to make special under the
Green Technology Pilot Program must be filed before December 8, 2010. The USPTO may extend the pilot program (with or without modifications)
depending on the feedback from the participants and the effectiveness of the pilot program.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pinchus M. Laufer and Joni Y. Chang, Senior Legal Advisors, Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the
Associate Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, by telephone at 571-272-7726 or 571-272-7720; by facsimile transmission to 571-273-7726,
marked to the attention of Pinchus M. Laufer; or by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments Patents, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria,
In order to be eligible for the Green Technology Pilot Program, the application must be classified in one of the U.S. patent classifications
("USPCs") listed below at the time of examination. The classification descriptions are provided as helpful information, and they will not be used
in determining whether an application is eligible. An applicant may suggest a classification for the application, but the applicant may not know the
classification of the application at the time of filing a petition to make special under the Green Technology Pilot Program. The USPTO will determine
whether this requirement is satisfied once the application is in condition for examination and the petition is being decided.
The following is a list of the eligible classifications:
1. Alternative-power vehicle (e.g., hydrogen) (USPC 180/2.1-2.2, 54.1).
3. Commuting, e.g., HOV, teleworking (USPC 705/13).
4. Drag reduction (USPC 105/1.1-1.3; 296/180.1-180.5; 296/181.5).
5. Electric lamp and discharge devices (USPC 313/498-512, 567-643).
6. Electric vehicle (USPC 180/65.1; 180/65.21; 320/109; 701/22; 310/1-310).
8. Energy storage or distribution (USPC 307/38-41; 700/295-298; 713/300-340).
9. Fuel cell-powered vehicles (USPC 180/65.21; 180/65.31).
10. Human-powered vehicle (USPC 180/205; 280/200-304.5).
11. Hybrid-powered vehicle (USPC 180/65.21-65.29; 73/35.01-35.13, 112-115, 116-119A, 121-132).
13. Land vehicle (USPC 105/49-61 (electric trains); 180/65.1-65.8 (electric cars)).
15. Roadway, e.g., recycled surface, all-weather bikeways (USPC 404/32-46).
18. Transportation (USPC 361/19, 20, 141, 152, 218).
19. Watercraft drive (electric powered) (USPC 440/6-7).
20. Watercraft drive (human powered) (USPC 440/21-32).
21. Wave-powered boat motors (USPC 440/9).
22. Wind-powered boat motors (USPC 440/8).
23. Wind-powered ships (USPC 114/102.1-115).