The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) has announced that it will extend a pilot program that moves applications for environmentally friendly inventions closer to the front of the line.

According to PTO Director David Kappos, the program, which was set to expire on December 8, 2010, will now run until the end of 2011. In addition, patent applications that were filed before the program began in December 2009 are now also eligible for the expedited examinations (assuming they are for green technology).

Despite the extension, only the first 3,000 speedy-review applications that were filed before the new deadline will be accepted. So far, the PTO has granted almost 800 petitions from green technology inventors and has issued 94 patents on the technology.

The goal of the program is to boost investments in green technology and to hopefully create new jobs. According to Kappos, “We’ve seen great results so far for those applications in the Green Technology Pilot Program, so we want to extend it for another year and open the program to additional green inventions.”

Normally, an application takes just over two years on average to receive a first office action. Under the expedited program, once a green technology petition is granted it takes an average of only 49 days. In some cases, the PTO has granted green applications within a year of filing, which the PTO said it hopes will help inventors secure funding and speed their green technology to the market.