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USPTO Will Accelerate Examination of Green Technology Patent Applications

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced on December 4, 2009. The new initiative, coming shortly before the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, will accelerate the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U. S. competitiveness in this vital sector.

“American competitiveness depends on innovation and innovation depends on creative Americans developing new technology,” Secretary Locke said. “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.”

Pending patent applications in green technologies will be eligible to be accorded special status and given expedited examination, which will have the effect of reducing the time it takes to patent these technologies by an average of one year. Earlier patenting of these technologies enables inventors to secure funding, create businesses and bring vital green technologies into the market much sooner.

Patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order that they are filed. The average pendency time for applications in green technology areas is approximately 30 months to a first office action and 40 months to a final decision. Under the pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed, the PTO will examine the applications on an accelerated basis.

If successful, the PTO will consider ways to continue and expand the initiative.

Additional details on the PTO pilot program will be available via the PTO’s website: http://www.uspto.gov.

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