USPTO Director Katherine K. Vidal published a notice today, May 31st, 2023 outlining certain changes to the initial Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program that went into effect June last year, which is expected to expire next week. In line with the agency’s policy, the expansion and extension of the 2022 program reflects the USPTO’s efforts to encourage and incentivize innovation in the climate space, by advancing out of turn for first action on the merits those applications that have been accepted into the program.
As of May 30, 2023 for reference, 354 applications have applied for the program and 244 have been granted special status. The 2022 pilot program allotted a maximum of 1,000 grantable petitions within the year-long time frame. And unless otherwise specified, the rules for the upcoming pilot program are the same as the rules of the 2022 program. See: Fed. Reg., Vol. 87, No. 107 (June 3rd, 2022).
Changes taking effect in June 2023
The newly-expanded Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program will run from June 6, 2023 until either June 7, 2027, or until the date that the USPTO accepts a total of 4,000 grantable petitions, which includes petitions granted under both the existing (2022) and expanded (2023) programs.
The USPTO is expanding the subject matter eligibility clause of the 2022 program to include a product or process that:
- Removes greenhouse gases already present in the atmosphere;
- Reduces and/or prevents additional greenhouse gas emissions; and/or
- Monitors, tracks, and/or verifies greenhouse gas emission reductions.
The USPTO is also increasing the filing limitations by allowing an applicant to file a grantable petition if the inventor or any joint inventor has not been named as the inventor or joint inventor on more than 12—up from 4—other non-provisional patent applications in which a petition to make special under this program has been filed.
Lastly, the USPTO will still require the applicant/petitioner to file the same form, i.e., Petition form PTO/SB/457, entitled “CERTIFICATION AND PETITION TO MAKE SPECIAL UNDER THE CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION PILOT PROGRAM,” however, the USPTO will modify the certifications at numbered items 2 and 11 within the form to correspond with the aforementioned changes.
The petition to make special (i.e., form PTO/SB/457) may be filed retroactively; however, the petition must be filed within 30 days of the filing date or entry date of the application, for a non-provisional application or national stage application, respectively.
In order to evaluate whether the USPTO is likely to accept your petition, the claim should correspond to one or more of the technical concepts within the following subclasses of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system:
- Y02A — TECHNOLOGIES FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
- Y02B — CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
- Y02C — CAPTURE, STORAGE, SEQUESTRATION OR DISPOSAL OF GREENHOUSE GASES
- Y02D — CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES [ICT], I.E. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AIMING AT THE REDUCTION OF THEIR OWN ENERGY USE
- Y02E — REDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
- Y02P — CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
- Y02T — CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
- Y02W — CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO WASTEWATER TREATMENT OR WASTE MANAGEMENT