Academic journal article Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

Environmental Initiative and the Role of the USPTO'S Green Technology Pilot Program

Academic journal article Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

Environmental Initiative and the Role of the USPTO'S Green Technology Pilot Program

Article excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION
II. THE "GREEN" PROBLEM
III. ADDRESSING THE "GREEN" PROBLEM
       A. Government Intervention
       B. Domestic Considerations
       C. International considerations
IV. RESEARCH FUNDING AND PATENT PROTECTION
       A. Research Funding
       B. The Bayh-Dole Act
       C. Patent Protection
       D. Patent Proposals
VI. THE PTO'S GREEN TECHNOLOGY PILOT PROGRAM
       A. Program Overview
       B. Initial Reception and Modification
VII. THE FUTURE OF GREEN TECHNOLOGY AND PATENT
       PROTECTION
       A. Program and Patent Theory
       B. Program Goals and Proposals
           1. Increase the Incentive to Innovate
           2. Increase Participation in the Program
           3. Improve Acceleration Speed
       C. Patent Reform Outlook
       D. Global Outlook
VIII. CONCLUSION

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs--but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation--workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors. (1)

President Barack Obama

I. INTRODUCTION

The United States (U.S.) has entered a heightened state of environmental awareness. America's history of industrialization and consumerism in the early 1900s resulted in the realization that an increasing rate of industrial growth wrought a devastating effect on the environment. This growing environmental awareness has peaked in the contemporary era. In the 1990s and the early 2000s, environmental issues were pushed to the forefront of American consciousness. (2) Political leaders have become advocates for the environment, (3) and their work prompted more Americans to recognize the environment as a top priority on the country's political agenda. (4) The American sentiment is evident in President Obama's goals for the new decade: creating a clean energy economy and reducing pollution levels. (5)

This comment will address the environmental problems that confront the U.S. and the steps that the government has taken to solve them. Specifically, research funding and patent protection have provided the green industry an incentive to increase research and development of green technology. For example, one of the recent programs to help improve the patent protection of green technology, the Green Technology Pilot Program ("Program"), accelerates the status of green technology through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patenting process. This Comment will suggest that the Program become a permanent feature within the USPTO and that it be expanded to allow maximum access. Finally, this Comment will recommend that the USPTO receive more funding (and keep the funding that it generates) to help alleviate delays, and the U.S. should be more receptive to green technology licensing in developing countries.

II. THE "GREEN" PROBLEM

The American people's reliance on foreign oil, coal, and other nonrenewable sources has irreversibly affected not only the country's environment but also the country's economy and national security. In the 1960s, environmentalism began to gain popularity, (6) and the 1970s energy crisis opened the door for environmental legislation in the U.S. (7) The energy crisis demonstrated American dependence on fossil fuels and raised many questions about the country's energy policy and the security of its energy supply. (8) This realization led to many changes as environmentalism became more mainstream and the country started to develop alternative sources of energy and fuel efficiency.

Since the 1970s, the environment has remained a concern. The Argo Merchant (1976), Exxon Valdez (1989), and "BP" Deepwater Horizon (2010) oil spills all serve as unwelcome reminders of the devastation wrought by human intervention on the Earth and of the fragility of nature. …

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