On December 8, 2009, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a new pilot program for accelerated examination. This program was developed because of the need for green technology in today’s market. Inventors in the area of green technology need to be able to secure funding and create businesses faster. The USPTO defines green technology as technology related to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy, or greenhouse gas emission reduction.
According to the USPTO, the average time for patent applications in the green technology area is around 30 months to the first Office Action and 40 months to the final decision. With the expedited examination offered under this pilot program, the time should be reduced by an average of one year.
In order to qualify for this advantage, an application must meet certain requirements. The applicant must file a Petition to Make Special Under the Green Technology Pilot Program. In doing so, the applicant is agreeing to early publication, to make an election without traverse in a telephonic interview, to file statements of special status, and that the application has no more than twenty (20) claims, no more than three (3) independent claims, and no multiple dependent claims.
Federal regulations, press releases, statistics, frequently asked questions, and forms may be viewed at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/green_tech.jsp.