A new pilot program from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeks to fast-track the review of “green” technology patents, a time-consuming process that often takes about 40 months under the current system.
The new system is expected to take about 12 months off the process, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“American competitiveness depends on innovation and innovation depends on creative Americans developing new technology,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, in a press release.
“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 added.
The first 3,000 “green” patent applications to be filed will be eligible for the new system, along with about 25,000 applications already in the pipeline, reports CNET.
“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, in the release.
Carl Horton, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of General Electric, called the new program a “terrific mechanism” to speed the spread of patented technologies.
As a sign that companies once again view clean tech as a solid investment, a quarterly record of 274 U.S. clean energy patents were granted in the second quarter of 2009.
The biggest growth was in fuel cells, wind and solar, with Honda leading the way in number of patents granted.