U.S. Patent Office Lets Green Technologies Jump The Queue For Another Year

The United States Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO) has extended its Green Technology Pilot Program to accelerate the review of patent petitions for green technologies defined as those pertaining to: environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy, and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Applications are usually reviewed in the order they are received by the patent office, leading inventors and companies to delay commercialization of their technologies. This program lets green tech patents jump the queue without any extra fees or paperwork, and the USPTO hopes it will reduce average pendency times for green technologies by a year or more.

The program launched in Dec. 2009 and was to expire on Dec. 8th this year, but the USPTO on Wednesday announced an deadline extension until Dec. 31, 2011. So far, the USPTO had received 1,595 patent petitions and granted 790 of them under the Green Technology Pilot Program.

The program could prove controversial, as the president and founder of IPWatchdog Inc., Gene Quinn, suggests:

When has it ever been bad to encourage exciting new technologies? An argument could be made that the Patent Office could and should expand this acceleration program beyond the green tech space and more broadly define those types of innovations that we as a society need most. A one-size-fits-all patent system, or patent term for that matter, strikes me as out-dated. Bacteria are becoming ever more resistant to Antibiotics and with more and more people in the world we need to continually advance food producing technologies…a one-size-fits-all patent system is out-dated. Whether through acceleration or a longer patent term, we should be doing what we can to encourage those innovations society most needs.