Patent Office Announces Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program

climate change graphic The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced a Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program to expedite examination of certain kinds of climate-related inventions. According to the USPTO,
The Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program is designed to positively impact the climate by accelerating examination of patent applications for innovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under this program, qualifying applications involving greenhouse gas reduction technologies are advanced out of turn for examination (granted special status) until a first action on the merits—typically the first substantive examination—is complete. For qualifying applications, the applicant does not incur the petition to make special fee and is not required to satisfy the other requirements of the accelerated examination program. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will accept petitions to make special under this program until June 5, 2023, or the date when 1,000 applications have been granted special status under this program, whichever occurs earlier.
The program aligns with an executive order on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” which notes:
The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis. We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents. Domestic action must go hand in hand with United States international leadership, aimed at significantly enhancing global action. Together, we must listen to science and meet the moment.
To qualify, “Applications must contain one or more claims to a product or process that mitigates climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The program is open to:
  • Non-continuing original utility nonprovisional applications; and
  • Original utility nonprovisional applications that claim the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) of only one prior application that is either a nonprovisional application or an international application designating the United States.
Applications must be filed electronically using Patent Center, and the specification, claims, and abstract must be submitted in DOCX format. However,
Applicants may not file a petition to participate in this pilot program if the inventor or any joint inventor has been named as the inventor or a joint inventor on more than four other nonprovisional applications in which a petition to make special under this program has been filed.
As the USPTO notes,
Applications accepted into the pilot program will be advanced out of turn (accorded special status) for first action on the merits without meeting all of the current requirements, including any extra fee payments, of the accelerated examination program (for example, the requirement for an examination support document) or the prioritized examination program (for example, the prioritized examination fee or processing fee).
More details about the program are in the Federal Register. Previously, the USPTO launched a similar program for inventions related to COVID-19, but that’s ending soon. The USPTO
will accept requests for prioritized examination filed in qualifying patent applications until midnight on December 31, 2022 without requiring payment of certain fees associated with prioritized examination. Under this pilot, the USPTO will advance out of turn certain patent applications related to COVID-19 for examination, resulting in their prioritized examination. The USPTO aims to provide final disposition of patent applications in the pilot in one year or less after it grants prioritized status.
More information about that program is here.
Categories: Patents