Green Patent PR: Marketing Clean Tech on the Fast Track

May 26th, 2010 by Eric Lane Leave a reply »

Perhaps it’s too early to call it a trend.  But clean technology companies have begun to use the fast tracking procedure offered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Green Technology Pilot Program for PR purposes. 

Last month, GreenShift Corporation (GreenShift), a New York company that develops processes for ethanol production, announced that one of its patent applications was accepted into the program.  A little research indicates that the lucky application is Application Publication No. 2008/0299632 (’632 Application).

The ’632 Application is entitled “Methods for recovering oil from a fractionated dry milling process” and is directed to methods for recovering oil from fthin stillage produced in a fractionation-based dry milling process.  The invention enables recovery of oil from byproducts created during corn ethanol production.

David Winsness, GreenShift’s CTO and a named co-inventor on the ’632 Application, said the company is “pleased that one of our pending applications has been accepted into this important and timely program” and is looking forward to “additional opportunities to deliver our clients the powerful cost advantages made possible by our patented technologies.”

If the ’632 Application issues as a patent in the near future, it might join U.S. Patent No. 7,601,858 in GreenShift’s recently expanded slate of patent infringement suits against a number of different ethanol producers.

Similarly, Silicon Valley concentrating PV company Skyline Solar (Skyline) recently announced that the USPTO granted U.S. Patent No. 7,709,730 (’730 Patent) after expedited examination via the Green Technology Pilot Program. 

The ’730 Patent is entitled “Dual trough concentrating solar photovoltaic module” and is directed to a solar energy collector having a dual trough design.  The collector (100) has two optical apertures (101a, 101b) that admit sunlight onto reflector panels (106).

730fig.JPG

Each of two adjacent reflector troughs (120a, 120b) has a base (124a, 124b) and a pair of reflective side walls formed from the reflector panels (106).

Skyline markets the patented technology as High Gain Solar (HGS) architecture, and the press release says HGS packs more power and is easier to deploy than traditional flat panel CPV systems:

Skyline’s HGS architecture delivers ten times more energy per gram of silicon versus traditional flat-panel systems in sunny locations and offers industry-leading energy density.  Skyline HGS arrays combine industry-proven silicon cells, durable reflector materials and single-axis tracking into a complete, easy-to-deploy system.

According to its press release, Skyline is “one of the first companies to receive patent approval under the USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program.” 

It certainly won’t be the last.  With the USPTO recently loosening up the eligibility requirements for the Green Technology Pilot Program, there should be many more applications accepted into the program, more patents granted as a result and more green patent PR surrounding the success stories.

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