The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a new Pilot Program for Green Technologies notice in the December 8, 2009, Federal Register. Under this pilot program, a number of "green" energy and carbon emission reduction technologies are eligible to receive accelerated examination. In accelerated examination, a patent application is examined ahead of regular applications. Many different technologies in three broad areas are eligible for this program: applications pertaining to energy conservation, development of renewable resources or greenhouse gas emission reduction. In order to be considered for the accelerated examination pilot program a petition must be filed. However, unlike normal accelerated examination, a pre-examination search and an Examination Support Document (ESD) are not required to participate in the program. Thus, the petition for accelerated examination under the pilot program can be prepared at much lower cost than a regular accelerated examination petition. Any application is eligible for the pilot program as long as the already filed application is classified in one of the listed search classes and has not received a first action.
The pilot program is only available for the first 3,000 applications to have proper petition filed, though the USPTO indicated the program may be expanded. For further information see the notice in the Federal Register.