Only two months remain for applicants who want to take advantage of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Green Technology Pilot Program. The program – a fast track procedure for green patent applications – is scheduled to close its doors on December 8, 2010.
The program launched on December 8, 2009 and lasts just one year. Although it was limited to only the first 3,000 petitions filed, the program has been under-subscribed and is highly unlikely to max out.
Applicants that wish to participate in the program need to file a petition with the USPTO requesting participation and indicating that their patent application complies with the program requirements.
The basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
the application is a non-reissue, non-provisional utility application filed before December 8, 2009 for which a first office action has not been issued;
the application has three or fewer independent claims, 20 or fewer total claims and no multiple dependent claims (the applicant can file a preliminary amendment to bring the application in compliance with this requirement);
the application claims a single invention directed to environmental quality, conserving energy, developing renewable energy resources or reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and
the applicant must request early publication of the application.
Like football’s two-minute warning, this post signals that time is running out to move your green patent application down the field.
But if you miss out on the U.S. fast track, there are still many expeditious green patenting opportunities around the world: the U.K. Intellectual Property Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, IP Australia, the Israeli Intellectual Property Office, the Canada Intellectual Property Office and the Spanish Intellectual Property Office all have or plan to launch procedures to expedite green patenting.
Eric Lane is a patent attorney at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.