The Biden Administration’s attempt to tackle the climate crisis has made its way to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Executive Order 14008, dated January 27, 2021, stated “domestic action [on climate change] must go hand in hand with United States international leadership, aimed at significantly enhancing global action,” and called on government agencies to take action.[1] In response, this June, the USPTO unveiled the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program (the Pilot Program) in response to Executive Order 14008. The Pilot Program “is designed to positively impact the climate by accelerating examination of patent applications for innovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”[2]

The USPTO already expedites patent applications for inventions in this field. A petition to make an application special may be filed on the basis that “the invention will materially: enhance the quality of the environment; [or] contribute to the development or conservation of energy resources.”[3] However, the Pilot Program allows qualified applicants to waive the associated fee and does not require them to satisfy all of the requirements of the existing accelerated examination program.

To qualify, an applicant must file a petition to make special under the Pilot Program, and the application must claim an invention directed to certain technologies that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Pilot Program is accepting nonprovisional applications, and applicants may not file a petition to participate if any inventor has been named as an inventor on more than four other nonprovisional applications filed under the same Pilot Program. Additional requirements can be found in the June 3, 2022, Federal Register notice.[4] Applications accepted into the Pilot Program will be advanced out of turn for first action on the merits.

The USPTO will accept petitions to make special under this program until June 5, 2023, or the date when 1,000 applications have been granted special status under the Pilot Program, whichever occurs earlier. As of July 12, 2022, only four applications have taken advantage of the Pilot Program.[5]



[3] 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2)(i)-(ii)

[4] 87 FR 33750 (June 3, 2022)