The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patgreen-innovation-pilot-program.jpggreen innovation pilot programent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications.The new initiative will accelerate the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this sector.

by Tracey de Morsella, Green Economy Post

The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Monday that its U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a year-long program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications by as much as one year. The new initiative is designed to speed the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness. In particular, the program focuses on patents for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, plus other environmental technologies.

The program rules spell out 29 categories of renewable energy technologies and 23 categories of energy efficiency technologies that are eligible. Pending patent applications in these technologies will be eligible for special status and given expedited review. Earlier patenting of these technologies enables inventors to secure funding, create businesses, and bring vital green technologies into use much sooner. Locke announced the USPTO pilot program at a press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today at the Commerce Department’s headquarters.

“American competitiveness depends on innovation and innovation depends on creative Americans developing new technology,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “By ensuring that many new products will receive patent protection more quickly, we can encourage our brightest innovators to invest needed resources in developing new technologies and help bring those technologies to market more quickly.”

“Every day an important green tech innovation is hindered from coming to market is another day we harm our planet and another day lost in creating green businesses and green jobs,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos said. “Applications in this pilot program will see a significant savings in pendency, which will help bring green innovations to market more quickly.”

Pending patent applications in green technologies will be eligible to be accorded special status and given expedited examination, which will have the effect of reducing the time it takes to patent these technologies by an average of one year. Earlier patenting of these technologies enables inventors to secure funding, create businesses, and bring vital green technologies into use much sooner.

Patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order that they are filed. The average pendency time for applications in green technology areas is approximately 30 months to a first office action and 40 months to a final decision. Under the pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed, the agency will examine the applications on an accelerated basis.

Carl Horton, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of General Electric, hailed the new initiative.

“We hail this initiative as an excellent incentive to fuel further innovation of clean technology and a terrific mechanism to speed the dissemination of these patented technologies throughout the world,” Horton said.

Michael Sykes, an independent inventor who has spent the last 25 years working on technology to make homes more energy efficient, commented: “ All my inventions relate to energy and energy inventions pay for themselves- so speeding up the process helps me as a businessman, and helps the end user start saving.”

Additional details on the USPTO pilot program will be available in the Federal Register and via the USPTO’s Website: http://www.uspto.gov.

If successful, the USPTO will examine ways to continue and expand the initiative.

© 2009 – 2010, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.