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USPTO Expands Green Tech Pilot Program

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has expanded the categories of technology eligible for expedited processing under the Green Technology Pilot Program, aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of green technologies.

Eligibility for the pilot program was previously limited to applications within a select number of U.S. classifications, which resulted in the denial of a number of green technology applications that would have otherwise qualified for the program, says the USPTO.

“There has been a tremendous amount of interest in the Green Technology Pilot Program, and we would like to enable applicants whose inventions did not fall within the initial classifications eligible for the program to be eligible,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.

Patent applications are typically examined in the order that they are filed. Under the pilot program, the agency will expedite the review of the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies.

When the Green Technology Pilot Program (PDF) was announced in December 2009, the program was limited to inventions in certain classifications to help the USPTO balance the additional workload and to determine the resources needed for the program.

To date, more than 950 requests have been filed by applicants. Only 342 of those have been granted, primarily because many of the inventions weren’t in classifications that were eligible.

USPTO says applicants whose petitions were denied solely on the basis that their applications did not meet the classification requirement may file a renewed petition. If the renewed petition is filed within one month of the Federal Register notice publication, it will be given priority as of the date the applicant filed the initial petition.

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