It’s official. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has extended the accelerated patent review process for green technologies for an additional year to December 31, 2011, reports CNET. The program was set to expire on Dec. 8, 2010.
In October, the agency issued a notice that it would be expanding the eligibility of the Green Technology Program (PDF) to include applications filed on or after December 8, 2009, along with the one-year extension. Petitions seeking expedited processing of new green patent applications may also now be filed simultaneously with the patent application, says the USPTO.
Since the pilot program began in December 2009, a total of 790 petitions have been granted to green technology patent applicants, and 94 patents have been issued.
Currently, the average time between the approval of a green technology petition and the first action on an application is just 49 days. In several cases, patent applications in the green technology program have been issued within a year of the filing date, according to the USPTO.
Patent applications are typically examined in the order they are filed. Under the extended pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications filed on or before Dec. 31, 2011, in which a grantable petition for special status is filed, the agency will expedite examination.
Petitions for expedited processing must show how the application relates to the development of a renewable energy source or energy conservation or the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.