Patent and Trademark Office December 15, 2011 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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Sunset of the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan and a Limited Extension of the Green Technology Pilot Program
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) has provided two procedures under which an applicant may have an application accorded special status for examination. The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan is available if the applicant expressly abandons another copending unexamined application. The Green Technology Pilot Program is available to patent applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy resources, and greenhouse gas emission reduction. In view of the trend in filings under the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan, this plan has fulfilled its purpose and will not be extended. In view of the success of the Green Technology Pilot Program, this plan will be extended until 500 additional applications have been accorded special status under this program or until March 30, 2012, whichever occurs earlier. Following the expiration of this extension, the program will be eliminated, and applicants may instead use the newly enacted Prioritized Examination (Track I) program. The Track I program not only provides advancement of examination, but sets a target of reaching final disposition within 12 months from the time advancement is initiated. Furthermore, the advancement in the Track I program is available to all technologies and is not restricted to certain categories of invention as in the Pilot Program.