Only two months remain forÂ applicants who want to take advantage of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO)Â Green Technology Pilot Program.Â The program – a fast track procedure for green patent applications – is scheduled to close its doors on December 8, 2010.
The program launched onÂ December 8, 2009 and lasts just one year.Â Although it was limited to only the first 3,000 petitions filed, the program has been undersubscribed and is highly unlikely to max out.Â As of late September, onlyÂ 735 of the 3,000 slots had been filled.
Applicants that wish to participate in the program need toÂ file a petition with the USPTO requesting participation and indicating that their patent application complies with the program requirements.Â
The basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
the application is a non-reissue, non-provisional utility application filed before December 8, 2009 for which a first office action has not been issued;
the application has three or fewer independent claims, 20 or fewer total claims and no multiple dependent claims (the applicant can file a preliminary amendment to bring the application in compliance with this requirement);
the application claims a single invention directed to environmental quality, conserving energy, developing renewable energy resources or reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and
the applicant must request early publication of the application.
Like football’s two-minute warning, thisÂ post signals thatÂ time is running out to move your green patent application down the field.Â
But if you miss out on the U.S. fast track, there are still many expeditious green patenting opportunities around the world:Â the U.K. Intellectual Property Office,Â the Korean Intellectual Property OfficeÂ ,Â IP Australia,Â the Israeli Intellectual PropertyÂ Office, the Canada Intellectual Property Office andÂ the Spanish Intellectual Property OfficeÂ all have or plan to launch procedures to expedite green patenting.Â