An Incentive to Green Technology Patent Applications

First Publication Date: 29th December 2010
In an extremely globalized world where we talk of reducing our carbon footprint, it is obvious that the leaders of tomorrow would be those who can use the alternatives to non renewable sources of energy to the fullest. Green technologies like Solar Energy, Hydel Power and Wind energy are being researched upon the world over and the least the governments can do is provide more and more incentives for development of these technologies.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched a pilot programme last year on 8th December to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications to encourage development and deployment of Green Technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector whose importance is being slowly understood. In the United States, Patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order that they are filed. The average pendency time for applications in Green Technology areas is approximately 30 months to a first office action and 40 months to a final decision. Under the pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed, the agency will examine the applications on an accelerated basis. As of now, till 13th December, 148 petitions are awaiting decision while 917 have already been granted. 661 petitions have been dismissed on various grounds and moreover 154 petitions have been denied totally. In all, there have been 1880 petitions and the number of US patents having been granted green patent is 142.
If new Green Technology products receive patent protection quickly, it would encourage the bright innovators to invest the much needed resources to develop these technologies and in turn these would be brought to the market more quickly. It is evident that every day when an important Green Technology innovation is hindered from coming to market is another day we harm our planet and another day lost in creating green businesses and green jobs. This pilot programme of speeding up of Green Patent applications will lead to a significant savings in pendency which would in turn lead to Green Technologies reaching the market sooner reducing the time it takes to patent these technologies by almost one year.
At first, this programme was limited to applications filed before December 8, 2009. But the eligibility has been expanded to include applications filed on or after December 8, 2009. The program is also being extended until December 31, 2011. It is hoped that by this patent applications relating to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy resources, and greenhouse gas emission being given an out of turn head start with the US government even eliminating the classification requirement for any petitions that are decided on or after the publication date of this notice which would permit more applications to qualify for the program, thereby allowing more inventions related to green technologies to be advanced out of turn for examination and reviewed earlier.
If India wants to be a noted player in the field of Green Technology, the Government must provide similar sops to Indian inventors so that becomes an irresistible incentive to research in the field of green technologies. Needless to say, those who would have harnessed the power of Green Technologies would be the leaders of tomorrow.
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