Last December, the USPTO launched a pilot program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications. 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. (For more info, see here and here).
Today, Martin LaMonica reports from CNET:
As of Thursday . . . a USPTO representative said there have been 1,477 requests for accelerated status, well short of the pace first expected. . . . The green-tech program doesn't have a big backlog of patent applications, which is a growing problem at USPTO overall. By mid-August, there were only 53 applications awaiting review, with over 700 granted and the rest dismissed or denied.Read "Green-tech patent program off target pace"
Jennifer Rankin Byrne, director of public affairs at the USPTO, said the USPTO is pleased with the pilot program, is considering whether to extend it another year, and would like to see more participation.
In response to the low number of applications after the first six months, the USPTO in May loosened the requirements to take advantage of the fast-track process. Rather than having to fit into a specific classification, patent petitioners now need to fall into four general areas of renewable energy, technology to improve environmental quality, energy conservation, or greenhouse gas reduction.
But even with easing the limitations on patent classifications, there hasn't been a dramatic increase in acceleration requests since May, when about 950 had been submitted.