Feeds

US eyes speedy reviews for 'green' patents

Change color. Save 12 months

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.