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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Tuesday Dec 08, 2009

Accelerating Green Innovation

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

Yesterday I participated in a press conference with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to unveil an exciting new initiative that will drive innovation in the green technology sector, increase U.S. competitiveness in green technology, and create green jobs.   The USPTO initiative, which launches today as the world looks to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a pilot program designed to reduce the average processing time of green technology patent applications.    

Through this program, applications already on file in certain green technology areas will be eligible to be accorded special status and examined on an accelerated basis.  To be eligible, applicants must file a no-cost petition for special status and indicate how the invention materially contributes to environmental quality, the discovery or development of renewable energy resources, more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources, or greenhouse gas emission reduction.  The pilot will be open to the first 3,000 applications for which a proper petition is filed.  If successful, the program may be expanded down the road.  

You can read more about the program in this press release and in my remarks from the press conference, as well as press accounts of the announcement including NYTimes.com and WSJ.com.

We will monitor the program carefully and will share updates with you along the way.  And, of course, we welcome your comments and feedback.

 

Comments:

How is this different from the existing Petition to Make Special under 37 CFR 1.102?

Posted by A on December 08, 2009 at 02:20 PM EST #

Dear Mr. Kappos: It is the opinion of all my colleagues who work in IP that priority for examination should not be given to any particular type of invention, regardless of whether said invention is "green" or "black." In a truly fair and equal system, applications that pass the initial formalities should be examined in the order they are received, unless a further request for expedited examination is granted. Why should other inventors' applications, whose inventions may be equal or more worthwhile of protection than so-called green inventions, be relegated to the end of the queue simply because they are not green? Why should businesses who trade in green technology have a no-cost advantage over those who do not? We respectfully urge you to reconsider this pilot program at once. Showing favoritism to one invention type over another is not a good idea (apart from 37 CFR 1.102 petitions). Perhaps it would be best simply to staff more examiners, who deal primarily with green technologies, on the quiet. Perhaps the USPTO could spend some time improving its web site search capabilities? Perhaps showing favoritism pleases the green movement and politicians, but we feel rather aggrieved. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Posted by Jay on December 09, 2009 at 01:14 PM EST #

I have three questions, please. The notice states that the application must be previously filed before the date of the notice. Does that mean "actually pending," or might it mean "accorded a US effective filing date" (e.g., a continuing application filed after the date of the notice and having a priority date that falls before the date of the notice)? Also, the notice clarifies that the application will not be placed on the special docket after the first examination, but is silent in the case of later filing an RCE. Does grant of the petition in an application that has never been examined cause that application to be treated differently in the future if that application is placed back in the new application queue for any reason, such as if an RCE is filed? Finally, the notice states that the petition must be filed at least one day before a first Office action appears in the PAIR system. I am am led to wonder because, when an RCE is filed, at least some of us generally term the next Office action a "first" Office action. The new rule placing RCEs in the queue with newly filed applications would also seem to suggest a possibility that the application might be eligible to be advanced out of that queue by filing the petition. Is that possible, or can the petition only be granted for applications that have never been examined? Thank-you

Posted by broje on December 11, 2009 at 11:54 AM EST #

...and another bad idea from the new management of the PTO to demonstrate how out of touch they are with the organization that they heading. I echo Jay's comments. If we make these cases a priority and the other technologies are pushed back. Why is "green" any better than "a new method for curing AIDS" or Breast Cancer? Why make these petitions free while the elderly on a fixed income have to pay to make special?

Posted by TZ on December 18, 2009 at 12:18 AM EST #

As long as all applications are treated equally...

Posted by Louis Rosavio on May 04, 2010 at 04:06 AM EDT #

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