BC Upham at Triple Pundit has an exclusive report this morning that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is significantly broadening the eligibility requirements for the Green Technology Pilot Program.
Specifically, the USPTO is eliminating the requirement that a patent application be classified in one of the specific technology classes and subclasses pre-approved as green technology classes to be accepted into the fast track program (see the USPTO press release here).
As I discussed in a previous post, the classification requirement led to the vast majority of petitions for the program being rejected because the universe of eligible classes and subclasses did not fully represent all green technologies.
According to the Triple Pundit story, the change was published this morning in the Federal Register (see the Notice here). The relevant text is as follows:
The USPTO is hereby eliminating the classification requirement for any petitions that are decided on or after the publication date of this notice. This will permit more applications to qualify for the program, thereby allowing more inventions related to green technologies to be advanced out of turn for examination and reviewed earlier.
This is a major improvement to the program that should allow more green patent applications to be fast tracked. It also makes the process easier and less expensive for applicants, obviating the need to finagle by amending the claims to shoehorn them into one of the eligible classes and subclasses.
The other change I’d like to see is opening up the program to newly-filed patent applications. Currently, only patent applications filed before the program launched on December 8, 2009 are eligible.