Monday, October 18, 2010

Canadian Patent Office Goes Green

Monday, October 18, 2010
In an effort to promote the commercialization of green technologies, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has proposed amendments to the Patent Rules to expand the mechanisms available in Canada for requesting accelerated examination to include special provision for patent applications related to green technology. The proposed amendments were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 30-day consultation period beginning October 3, 2010.

Under the proposed amendments, a patent applicant could request accelerated examination by submitting a declaration stating that their application relates to technology that would help to resolve or mitigate environmental impacts or to conserve the natural environment and resources if commercialized. In contrast to Canada’s current accelerated examination mechanism under the prejudice provision, which would continue in parallel with the proposed green route, there would be no fee required for green accelerated examination.

To ensure a shortened examination period for applicants, the CIPO will be issuing substantive office actions within two months of receipt of an applicant’s request or response. The responsibility for accelerating examination under the proposed green amendments, however, is not borne by the CIPO alone. Under green accelerated examination, the applicant will be required to respond to the examiner’s report within a shortened period of time of three months from the date of the examiner’s report at the risk of losing its accelerated status.

CIPO’s green proposal is welcome news for the green technology industry, and if accepted, Canada will be joining the efforts of patent offices around the world which have already implemented similar green initiatives, including the United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

By providing an additional mechanism for accelerating examination, the proposed green amendments provide applicants of green technology with an additional option for acquiring patent protection as quickly as possible.