US Patent Office Seeks to Positively Impact Climate by Accelerating Examination
Recently, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced changes to the patent application process through a new program called the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program. The program prioritizes the examination of patent applications claiming products or processes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This accelerated examination process will last until June 5, 2023, or until the USPTO receives 1000 applications, whichever comes first.
To qualify, prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:
- File a non-continuing original utility nonprovisional application, national stage application, or nonprovisional application that claims the benefit of only one prior application that is either a nonprovisional application or an international application designating the United States;
- The application must have at least one claim to a product or process that reduces greenhouse emissions;
- File a Petition to Make Special using Form PTO/SB/457 at the time of, or within 30 days of, filing the application;
- File the application electronically in DOCX format.
Qualifying applications are advanced out of turn for examination (i.e., granted special status) until a first action on the merits is complete. Thereafter, the application will be placed on the patent examiner’s regular docket.
Emission Reduction Claims and Categories
Making a claim to a greenhouse-reducing product or process includes selected activities in the Y02 subclass in the Cooperative Patent Classification System (CPC). Under the program, applications for innovations of the following climate change mitigation technologies will be considered:
- Y02A – technologies for adapting to the adverse effects of climate change;
- Y02B – technologies related to buildings, appliances, or related end-user applications;
- Y02C – capture, storage, and sequestration technologies;
- Y02D – information and communication technologies aiming at the reduction of their own energy use;
- Y02E – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to energy generation, transmission, or distribution;
- Y02P – technologies in any kind of industrial processing or production;
- Y02T – technologies related to transportation; or
- Y02W – technologies related to wastewater treatment or management.
Applicants must certify that they have a “good faith belief” that the accelerated review of their application will positively impact climate change.
Patent applicants that claim a product or process that reduces greenhouse emissions can avail themselves of the USPTO’s Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program, and receive accelerated examination. Such expedited review can be highly advantageous for start-up, mid-sized and large companies trying to get their climate change mitigation technologies to market.
ArentFox Schiff is a market leader in helping clients to navigate the business and legal issues surrounding agricultural technology, including climate change mitigating technologies. If you have questions or are interested in participating in the program, please feel to reach out to Alexander H. Spiegler, Patrice Z. Howard, Ph.D., or the ArentFox Schiff attorney who handles your matters.