The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced this week that pending patent applications for certain “green” technologies will get an accelerated examination by the Office, with the goal of shaving off years from the time the patents are pending.
The pilot program, effective immediately, is intended to spur the approval, and thus commercialization, of patents relating to “environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy, or greenhouse gas emission reduction,” according to the published guidelines (PDF).
The first 3,000 qualifying applications that submit to the program will get to essentially jump to the front of patent-pending line, which should reduce pendency from about 40 months to 12. Should the program prove successful, the Patent Office hopes to increase the number of eligible applications. Currently about 25,000 applications qualify, according to Greenwire.
“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,” said David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO .
The Patent and Trademark Office’s budget is $200 million in the red this year, and thus won’t be able to hire additional employees for the green patent program. But the the Office said that “cleantech proposals make up such a small percentage of the overall volume it receives that the program shouldn’t delay non-green applications,” according to GreenBeat. There are about 770,000 patents pending.
The official press release is here.