Ahead of a formal announcement, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a notice that it is expanding the eligibility of its Green Technology Pilot Program to include applications filed on or after December 8, 2009. The program also is being extended from December 8, 2010 to December 31, 2011.
USPTO says these changes will permit more applications to qualify for the program, allowing more inventions related to green technologies to be examined and reviewed earlier.
The USPTO launched the pilot program in December 2009 to fast-track the review of green technologies including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. Participation was limited to applications filed before December 8, 2009.
In May, the USPTO expanded the categories of technology eligible for expedited processing under the Green Technology Pilot Program to further accelerate the development and deployment of green technologies.
“The Green Technology Pilot Program permits applicants to accelerate the examination of their applications, potentially reducing the time between filing and final action by several months. Both the official fees and the legal costs of taking advantage of this program are extremely modest, especially when considered relative to the costs of taking advantage of the existing accelerated examination program,” said Paul Craane, intellectual property attorney and partner at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, in an e-mail statement.
Craane also noted that the changes will result in accelerated costs.
“Consequently, some small companies and start-ups may not be able to financially support aggressive use of the program. However, this program does represent a cost-effective way to move an application to issuance sooner, which may have a significant positive effect on companies looking to increasing their patent portfolio preliminary to strategic financing discussions, for example,” he said.