Expedited Review of Green Tech Patents Continues

On November 10, 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced extension of its Green Technology Pilot Program for fast review of Green Tech patents to include applications filed on or after December 8, 2009 through December 31, 2011. The program had been scheduled to expire on December 8, 2010. The program remains limited to 3,000 applications in all.

The Green Tech prrogram expedites its review of patent applications for “green technologies” ahead of other applications and also waives the $130 fee for expedited review. The goal is to get green technology market faster by jumping the line for patent application reviews. As defined by the USPTO Green Technologies pertain to:

* The discovery or development of renewable energy resources
* The more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources
* The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

The requirements for eligibility in the program include:

  1. the required relationship to “green technology,”
  2. the maximum of three (3) independent claims and twenty (20) total claims;
  3. the absence of any multiple dependent claims;
  4. the absence of any existing Office Actions, which are communications from the patent examiner in response to the application.

Further, the application may not be a reissue or provisional utility application and must include only one single invention unless the applicant agrees to elect one of the inventions during the review process, without reserving the right to appeal. Finally, international applications that have entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. § 371, as well as divisional and continuation applications meeting on their own the eligibility requirements, may qualify. Applications for design patents will not qualify.

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