UPDATE: November 22, 2010 - Please see this article for an update on the Green Technology Pilot Program.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has relaxed its requirements for entering the Green Technology Pilot Program. As we previously reported, the PTO launched this new program to accelerate prosecution of patent applications involving “Green” technology. However, the program was limited to applications in the following categories:
a. Alternative energy production;
b. Energy conservation;
c. Environmentally friendly farming; and
d. Environmental purification, protection, or remediation.
Effective May 21, 2010, the program is no longer limited to the above categories. Applicants whose petitions were dismissed or denied solely on the basis that their applications did not meet the classification requirement may file a renewed petition.
As we previously reported, the other requirements to enter the program are as follows, and will still apply:
- the invention claimed in a patent application must materially enhance the quality of the environment or materially contribute to (i) the discovery or development of renewable energy resources, (ii) the more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources, or (iii) greenhouse gas emission reduction;
- the applicant must file a petition to enter the program at least one day before a first Office Action. A restriction requirement, as well as an Official Action on the merits, is considered a first Office Action under this program;
- there must be no more than 20 claims, no more than three independent claims, no multiple-dependent claims, and the application must be directed to a single invention;
- preliminary amendments can be filed with the petition to comply with these requirements; and
- the pilot program is set to end after acceptance of the first 3,000 patent applications that cover this technology or will end on December 8, 2010 if less than 3,000 applications are submitted, although the program may be expanded. (See also Pilot Program for Green Technologies Including Greenhouse Gas Reduction, 74 Fed. Reg. 64666).
The relaxed requirements will allow more applications to enter the Green Technology Pilot Program and allow those chosen applications to be advanced out of turn for examination and earlier review. Contact us for more information if you are interested in participating in this program.