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USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program

USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program grants greentech and cleantech patent applications faster approval.

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Innovation is being encouraged at all levels of the economy -- business, local economic development, statewide regulators and federal funding and industry agencies. The US Patent office has introduced a fast-track patenting process for green technologies -- the "Green Technology Pilot Program".

Owning patents, trademarks and copyrights can provide green businesses with tangible assets that can raise the value of the enterprise. But getting these legal registrations have to be weighted against industry practices, costs, and long term value of the innovation. Those are business decisions. But the US government wants more green innovation, so the USPTO is making it faster, at least to patent specific kinds of innovations.

Eric L. Lane, Intellectual Property Associate

We asked an intellectual properties attorney for a "SOLUTIONS" update. Here are the answers from Eric L. Lane, Intellectual Property Associate with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego.

SOLUTIONS: How many patents have been accepted into this Green Technology pilot program?

LANE: As of last month (May, 2010), 343 applications were accepted into the program of the 3000 available slots. Of those, twelve (12) patents have been granted.

SOLUTIONS: Any California companies that stand out in this process?

LANE: As far as I know, there's no way to search for applications that have been accepted into the program. But some companies have used their expedited examination status and expedited patent grant for PR purposes... and they are covered in the

Skyline Solar, Silicon Valley
"Dual trough concentrating solar photovoltaic module"

One of those is Silicon Valley concentrating PV company Skyline Solar, which recently announced that the USPTO granted U.S. Patent No. 7,709,730 after expedited examination via the Green Technology Pilot Program. The '730 Patent is entitled "Dual trough concentrating solar photovoltaic module" and is directed to a solar energy collector having a dual trough design. Skyline markets the patented technology as High Gain Solar (HGS) architecture. According to its press release, Skyline is "one of the first companies to receive patent approval under the USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program."

SOLUTIONS: Which technologies are being over-represented in the process?

LANE: Again, since I don't think we can search for applications that have been accepted into the program, I can't really address details about applicants and technologies accepted into the program. One thing I can say is since the USPTO eliminated the technology classification requirement, a broader array of technologies should be accepted.

SOLUTIONS: I'd like to learn more about your work as well... what can you tell our readers about the process of green tech innovation, from your perspective?

LANE: I work primarily with green tech startups. Patents are very important to them because they typically don't have the resources necessary for scale up and implementation of their technologies. Patents can protect their niches as they seek funding for commercialization and help them find and negotiate with larger partners that may have the resources to scale the technologies.


Eric L. Lane
Associate, Intellectual Property
Technology Law Group and Renewable Energy, Sustainable Technology, Climate Change Practice
Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP
600 West Broadway, Suite 2600
San Diego, CA 92101

USPTO Green Technology Pilot Program
Green Technology Pilot Program

California Green Solutions Article: Green Tech Patents: USPTO Green Technology Pilot Program

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| clean tech corridor | clean tech | green tech | green technology | innovation | green business |


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