In a good news / bad news press release, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced last week that its Green Technology Pilot Program would be extended for three months but “will soon draw to a close.”
Previously set to expire on December 31, 2011, the program is being extended through March 30, 2012 or until 3,500 applications are accepted onto the fast track (read more in this post at Sustainable Marks).
As of December 5, 2011, the most recent report summary date, 2,913 petitions for the program have been granted, and 373 are awaiting decision.
To be eligible for the fast track program, the application must satisfy the following criteria:
the application is any non-reissue, non-provisional utility application 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.
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.