Last week, the USPTO issued two separate Federal Register Notices updating several of its special programs: the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan, the Green Technology Pilot Program, and the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program.
The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan
The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan (also known as the “dump one, bump one” program) permitted a small entity applicant to obtain expedited examination of a pending application by expressly abandoning another pending, unexamined application.
According to the December 15, 2011 Federal Register Notice, use of this program “reached a peak in late 2010” and has “since steadily decreased.” Thus, the program will end on December 31, 2011.
The Green Technology Pilot Program
The Green Technology Pilot Program permits expedited examination of certain “applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy, or greenhouse gas emission reduction.” (This article provides an overview of the program requirements.)
Although the Green Technology Pilot Program has been a success, it is going to be phased out in favor of the new Track I program, which offers fee-based expedited examination. According to the December 15, 2011 Federal Register Notice, the program will expire “until an additional 500 applications have been accorded special status” or until March 30, 2012, whichever occurs earlier.
The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program
The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program permits applicants to delay payment of search and examination fees (only) for up to 12 months for certain original U.S. non-provisional applications. (This article provides an overview of program details—and dangers.)
According to the December 16, 2011 Federal Register Notice, the USPTO is extending the program until December 31, 2012, in order “to better gauge whether the Extended Missing Parts Program offers sufficient benefits to the patent community for it to be made permanent.”