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USPTO launches new scheme for climate change combating patent applications
In May 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that they have created a new program which aims to help fast-track the initial review of patent applications that are directed to a product or process that helps mitigate climate change. This new scheme is called the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program (Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program | USPTO) and it launched on 3 June 2022. The program is intended to run until the 5 June 2023 or until 1,000 applications have been accepted into the program.
In order to qualify for this program, the application must contain one or more claims directed to a product or a process “that mitigates climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions”. The patent application must be a non-continuing original utility non-provisional application or an original utility non-provisional application that claims priority to a prior application, i.e. the application must be either a non-provisional application or an international application designating the US. A request to have an application considered under this program must be made within 30 days of the filing date or entry date of the application and there is no fee for making such a request.
If a patent application is accepted onto this program, the application will be given special status. Applicants can expect to receive a first examination report within a few months of filing, which is much sooner than applications without special status when it can take over a year to receive the first examination report. Once the first examination report has been issued, the application loses its special status and is treated as any other application.
If you have a patent application covering technology that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the US is of commercial importance to your business, it may be beneficial to take advantage of this opportunity to accelerate examination, particularly as there is currently no official fee associated with this program. However, it is worth noting that not all requests for this program will be granted since, as of 26 July 2022, 44 requests for special status has been filed but only 5 had been granted.
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