The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced this week it is extending and expanding its pilot program for fast-tracking examination of certain patent applications related to clean energy technology.

Originally scheduled to end on December 8, 2010, the program has been extended to December 31, 2011.

In addition, while originally open only to applications filed before December 8, 2009, the program is now open to all eligible patent applications, regardless of when the applications were filed.

To be eligible for this program, a patent application must be directed to an invention that materially enhances the quality of the environment, or that materially contributes to:

  • discovery or development of renewable energy resources;
  • more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources; or
  • reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Because the pilot program is open only to the first 3000 eligible applications, with 1600 already having been received as of November 2, interested applicants should prepare and file petitions as quickly as possible.

More details on the extended and expanded fast-track program are available here.