US To Speed 'Green' Tech Patents

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has begun a pilot program to accelerate the examination of “green” technology patent applications, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced this week.

The new initiative is meant to accelerate the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in the sector.

Pending patent applications in green technologies will be eligible to be accorded special status and given expedited examination, which will have the effect of reducing the time it takes to patent these technologies by an average of one year. Earlier patenting of these technologies enables inventors to secure funding, create businesses, and bring green technologies into use much sooner. 

Patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order that they are filed. The average pendency time for applications in green technology areas is approximately 30 months to a first office action and 40 months to a final decision, the Commerce Department said.

Under the pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed, the agency will examine the applications on an accelerated basis.

“American competitiveness depends on innovation and innovation depends on creative Americans developing new technology,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “By ensuring that many new products will receive patent protection more quickly, we can encourage our brightest innovators to invest needed resources in developing new technologies and help bring those technologies to market more quickly.”

Locke announced the USPTO pilot program at a press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today at the Commerce Department’s headquarters.

“Every day an important green tech innovation is hindered from coming to market is another day we harm our planet and another day lost in creating green businesses and green jobs,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos said.

If successful, the USPTO said it will examine ways to continue and expand the initiative.

Additional details on the pilot program will be available at the link below.

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