The Canadian Patent Office allows patent applicants of green technology to jump the queue and get their patent applications examined more quickly. Not only that, the Patent Office does not require a fee for doing so. The wait time for receiving a first examiner’s report in Canada in the absence of a fast track request is usually 12-18 months after making a request for examination, and then typically the back and forth with the patent examiner takes roughly 1-2 years before allowance is secured (but can be longer). The process for fast tracking examination of a green patent application simply involves submitting a request with the Patent Office, along with a statement that the subject matter “would help to resolve or mitigate environmental impacts or conserve the natural environment and resources”. The Patent Office says that its “accelerated service is intended to assist in reducing the time it takes to patent clean technology inventions, enabling businesses to bring them to market more rapidly”. This is a fantastic initiative that gives patent applicants of green technology a leg up in the patenting process.
Despite this, the number of patent applicants who have taken advantage of this program in Canada is surprisingly low. The Canadian Patent Office publishes the number of patent applications that have entered this program at the following link: http://www.ic.gc.ca/opic-cipo/cpd/eng/greenTechnologies/green_technologies.html. In 2013 and 2014, only five patent applicants/year requested fast track examination under this initiative. In 2015 this grew to an unimpressive six. Nonetheless, in 2017 the number of patent applications in the program grew to 49. At the date of this post, the Patent Office had reported that three patent applications were granted expedited examination under the program in 2018 so far.
Similar initiatives are available in other countries besides Canada, although the United States unfortunately cancelled their program. Ask your patent agent (or me) for more details!