On 15 September 2009 IP Australia released a public statement announcing it would be taking action to assist innovators with green technologies to fast track their patent applications through the Australian patent examination process. This initiative is intended to contribute to reducing the time to market for green technologies.
Expedited examination of Australian patent applications is already available where rapid examination is in the public interest or where special circumstances make rapid examination desirable. A request for expedited examination must be in writing and must include reasons why the particular patent application should examined ahead of its turn. Reasons currently accepted by IP Australia as justifying a request for expedited examination include an explanation that commercial dealings (such as the grant of a licence in relation to technology covered by the patent application) depend upon the early grant of a patent.
Following this announcement the simple statement that a patent application relates to a field of green technology will constitute a suitable reason in support of a request for expedited examination. Applicants of Australian patent applications covering green technologies (likely to be interpreted quite broadly) should give consideration to requesting expedited examination where there is a commercial motivation to do so. After filing a request for expedited examination an applicant can expect to receive a first examination report within a matter of two to four months.