by Mark Malek
Back in December, the USPTO announced a pilot program to accelerate examination of patent applications directed to “green technologies.” Oddly enough, this announcement came just before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark. I will refrain from ranting about the politics of this, but I only wonder if the USPTO will decide to accelerate examination of those technologies that may have an impact on any other upcoming international conferences. I think national defense and anti-terrorism are pretty big topics nowadays, but I still have not seen anything in the Federal Register about accelerated examinations of patent applications in those fields. Well, enough of that.
The pilot program aims to decrease the pendency time for patent applications in certain green technologies. The current pending time (i.e., number of months between filing an application and receiving a final decision), according to the article, is about 40 months – with an average of 30 months passing before a first Office Action is mailed to the applicant. By my count, that’s not bad compared to several other technological fields. I represent some clients that have patent applications which have been pending for going on four years. The pilot program is open to the first 3000 patent applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed.