The USPTO's latest statistics for its Green Tech Pilot Program (dated April 4, 2011) show that 1,595 petitions have now been granted. Also, however, 1,001 have been dismissed and 195 have been denied. Finally, 310 await decision. The USPTO indicates that 250 patents have already issued under the program.
The context of this patenting is that media reports are showing a rise of clean tech venture investing in the first quarter of 2011.
The USPTO Green Tech Pilot Program is slated to cut off once 3,000 petitions have been granted, or on December 31, 2011, unless extended again, so the program is now just past the 50% mark. Based on current trajectories, it seems unlikely that 3,000 petitions would be granted by December 31, 2011.
The USPTO will discuss the program further during a Clean Tech Partnership Meeting to be held on April 27, 2011, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, at the USPTO’s Madison Building conference center.
While accelerated examination is a positive goal for many applicants, the program limits the number of claims to be examined and also limits the ability to traverse restriction. Hence, caution should be exercised in using the program. Moreover, one wonders if otherwise perfectly good and economically stimulating patent applications are delayed in favor of green tech patent filings. An interesting question is whether examiners might be inclined to treat the green tech filings with less rigor in view of the USPTO's promotion of the program. Also, the recent USPTO Track I accelerated examination program might take some force out of this green tech program.
Canada also recently started a clean tech accelerated examination program. Under their fast track program, the applicant will receive a first office action within two months instead of about 2-3 years in the ordinary course. Canada joins several other IP offices around the world in offering a green tech fast track program, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Korea, Japan, and Israel.