The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan and the Green Technology Pilot Program will be phased out. Going forward, the USPTO is encouraging applicants to take advantage of the Prioritized Examination Track (Track I), which allows applicants, for a fee, to have their patent applications processed to final disposition within 12 months from prioritized status being granted.
The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan
The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan is available if the applicant expressly abandons another copending unexamined application. The USPTO has announced that the program has fulfilled its purpose and will not be extended through its current expiration date of December 31, 2011.
The Green Technology Pilot Program
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. 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