USPTO Implements Accelerated Examination Program for Green Technologies

Published January 7, 2010

The USPTO has implemented a Green Technology Pilot Program, which will provide partial accelerated examination of at least 3,000 qualified applications pertaining to green technologies filed before December 8, 2009. The program thus is not currently available for applications not yet filed. Petitions for accelerated examination under this program must be filed via EFS at least one day before any first Office action appears on PAIR, and no later than December 8, 2010.

There is no fee for the program, and no requirement for the examination support document required under the USPTO’s regular accelerated examination program. Applications whose petitions are accepted will be placed on the examiner’s special docket prior to the first Office action, and afterwards will be placed on the examiner’s amended docket (hence the partial accelerated examination).

To qualify for the program, the application must meet several requirements:

  • Applications must be classified in one of the listed classifications.
  • Only nonprovisional utility applications are eligible, including international applications that entered the national stage before 12/8/09.
  • Reissues and reexaminations are not eligible.
  • Applications can have up to 3 independent and 20 total claims, or the petition must be accompanied by a preliminary amendment to reduce the claims to these numbers.
  • Early publication must be requested.

Finally, applications “must be directed to a single invention that materially enhances the quality of the environment, or that materially contributes to: (1) The discovery or development of renewable energy resources; (2) the more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources; or (3) greenhouse gas emission reduction.” If the application does not clearly state how it materially enhances the quality of the environment or contributes to one of the listed goals, petitions must include a statement explaining how the requirement is met. This is a separate requirement from the classification requirement.

Upon receipt of 3,000 petitions, the USPTO may decide to accept more, depending on available resources. The program is set to last for 12 months, but the USPTO may decide to extend the program, both in duration and in the scope of technologies covered at the end of the 12 months (December 8, 2010).

Please contact Jeffrey B. Haendler with any inquiries about this program.