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USPTO starts Pilot Program for Green Technologies

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the creation of a new pilot program for the handling of Utility applications related to Green Technologies. Entitled as Pilot Program for Green Technologies Including Greenhouse Gas Reduction the program is to be given an application a special status which may be taken up the examination earlier and quicker. It is anticipated that the time to reach a final decision may be reduced by up to one year. The program is started on December 8, 2009 and takes one year. It is open to 3,000 applications as currently projected.


The document of USPTO describing the pilot program specifies in detail the subjects of Green Technologies referring to the U.S. patent classifications. Generally stated, this program applies to “green technologies” including applications pertaining to environmental quality, discovery or development of renewable energy resources, the more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources, and greenhouse gas emission reduction. If the application does not clearly indicate how the claimed invention contributes, the applicant must explain how the application complies with the requirements.

In addition to the demands referring the technical field the application must also be a non-provisional (utility applications) and a non-reissue utility application. Re-examination proceedings are also excluded from the project. An international application that has entered the U.S. stage before the start of the program may be given the special state upon a petition. Furthermore, the application must be limited to 3 independent claims and 20 claims totally.

Applications pending as of December 8, 2009 may enter he program if the applicant files a petition. Together with the petition the applicant may file preliminary amendments to place the application into required conditions. The election to enter the pilot program must be made before a first office action on the merits and before December 8, 2010. The applicant must also request early publication of the application, and pay the corresponding publication fee. The Applicant will not be required to pay an additional publication fee if the application is allowed. There is no separate fee to enter the program.