Patent authorities in Israel and around the world are joining the global effort to protect the environment, by expediting the examination process for “green” inventions.
As part of the global environmental effort, patent offices in various countries have adopted a process meant to encourage creative innovation in the field of environmental protection by giving precedence to patent applications that are considered “green”. Examination follows as closely as possible the submission of the patent request to the patent authority, and thus constitutes a commercial and legal advantage to the inventor who, for example, wants to deter competitors from copying his invention.
On December 14, 2009, the Israeli patent authority joined the global movement to prioritize “green” inventions. According to the patent registrar, Dr. Meir Noam, the decision was designed to strengthen Israel’s status as an international center for the search and examination of patents.
A request for a patent in Israel that is classified as “technology which promotes the protection of the environment” will be examined within 3 months from its classification as such, cutting back considerably on the handling time in comparison to normal patent applications. An area of focus which grants priority to a patent application might be the development of energy sources, the reduction of air and water pollution, advancements in non-polluting agriculture, minimizing emission of greenhouse gases to decrease global warming, etc.
Countries that implement expedited examinations of green patents are the U.S., England, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Israel. In all of the above, a written request must be submitted explaining how the invention detailed in the patent application promotes the environmental protection.
The expedited process is not the same in each country: in Australia, for instance, green patents are examined within two months, while in South Korea—within a month. The conditions for prioritizing a claim also differ from country to country. Requests for priority status in the U.S. are only allowed for applications that have not yet o reach a significant stage in the examination process, and that meet the specific criteria for such claims.
It is worthwhile noting that being given priority status for an application has possible disadvantages: in the U.S., expedition of claims for a “green” invention requires public disclosure of the patent request. In all countries, expediting the examination require higher preliminary expenses to cover the examination and registration process.
It is therefore advisable to consult a licensed patent agent to discuss the expediting process in each country: it might be worthwhile to submit an application for expediting an application in a country that does not require advanced public disclosure, and hope that under statutes such as section 17c of the Patent Law in Israel or the international Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), patent offices in other countries will rely on positive results in the country that carried out the expedited examination.
In this way, it might be possible to keep down on the patent examination costs in various countries.
Gold Patents has a vast experience in registering green patents. Thank you for your interest in Gold Patents articles. Feel free to contact us regarding green patents and registration in Israel or abroad.
Written by: Daphne Levy, Patent attorney intern (2011) at Gold Patents and Financial Services
Published at: Israel Technologies, October 2010.