Feeds

US eyes speedy reviews for 'green' patents

Change color. Save 12 months

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The US Patent and Trademark Office said Monday that it's launching a test program that will greatly speed the review of "green" technology patents.

The new fast-track pilot program is expected to shave a full year off the patent review process, which takes an average of 40 months to reach a final decision, according to the USPTO.

(In a related patent prophesy, expect everything from Apple's touchpad-conducting iGlove to IBM's wacky noise generator for teleconferencing to suddenly realize how they can do Mother Nature a major courtesy).

The program is designed to spur more "green" jobs and make the US more competitive in a nature-lovers technology market, the office said. A USPTO spokesman told us that the program's focus will be on applications for patents that contribute to either environmental quality; discovery or development of renewable energy; more efficient use and conservation of energy; or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It will initially target the first 3,000 patent applications related to green technologies that are currently on file at the USPTO. Holders must file a petition extolling the green-green virtues of their patent to light a fire under their patent review process. The US office estimates there are about 25,000 pending applications that are eligible for the program.

The USPTO said the initial number of green fast-track patents being accepted represent a minor percentage of overall applications, and it isn't expected to create delays to the rest of the backlog. The office faces a $200m budget shortfall, however, and will not hire any additional reviewers to handle the green patent fast-track program.

The spokesman said that while it's hard to predict if companies that will stretch the intentions of applications to make them sound more nature-friendly, it's prepared for the possibility.

"The people in our patents division are able to make that determination, just like they make determinations of that type all the time," he said.

UPTO is expected to decide whether to expand the green fast-track program some time early next year. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.