Article by Juhi Parsana and Caleb Pollack
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program on June 3, 2022, which will speed examination for certain climate change-related patent applications. The USPTO had previously implemented a similar program for cancer immunotherapy inventions in 2016. 81 FR 42328. Under this new pilot, applications that claim a product or process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be eligible for accelerated examination, without an extra fee, until the first examination on the merits (usually the first non-final office action) is complete. The USPTO will accept applications under this program until June 5, 2023, or until 1,000 patent applications have been granted accelerated examination under this program, whichever comes first.
This program is open to:
- Non-continuing original utility nonprovisional patent applications; and
- Original utility nonprovisional patent applications that claim benefit of the filing date of only one prior nonprovisional or international (PCT) application (prior provisional and foreign applications do not affect eligibility).
Applications must meet the following requirements, among others:
- The application must contain at least one claim directed towards a product or process that mitigates climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- The petition must be filed electronically using a specific form (PTO/SB/457) filed within 30 days of filing the application;
- The application must be filed in DOCX format;
- The application must not be subject to a nonpublication request; and
- Applicant must certify that:
- The applicant has a good faith belief that expediting the examination will have a positive impact on the climate; and
- None of the named inventors on the application have benefited on more than four other nonprovisional applications under this pilot program.