Have a brilliant green tech idea that you’re just itching to get to store shelves? Now’s the time to file a patent. The U.S. government is cutting the average review time for green technology-related patents from 40 months to 12 months in an attempt to speed up the deployment of important products, increase jobs, and boost U.S. competitiveness in the sector.
Under the pilot program, 3,000 green tech patents will get the sped-up treatment, with 25,000 more waiting in the wings if all goes well. Not just anyone can file a patent and expect preferred treatment. In order to qualify for the program, patents have to materially contribute to a healthier environment. That means innovations related to alternative energy, CO2-cutting technology, and green building will likely get the go-ahead.
So what does this mean in terms of new green tech products on the market? Patents can increase the likelihood of venture capital investment in a startup, but luck and timing are equally as important. The move to speed up green tech patents does at least show that the government recognizes the importance of moving quickly in salvaging our environment. Now let’s hope that recognition extends to this week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.