Final USPTO Initiative Retooled
Some pre-grant news of note this week. Last Friday the
USPTO announced the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (Federal
Register Notice here).
The revised pilot program modifies the initial concept by introducing a patent
examiner feedback component.
Recall that the
USPTO launched version 1.0 as the "After Final Consideration Pilot"
(AFCP) to foster compact prosecution and to slow the growing RCE
backlog. The pilot program allotted additional productivity time to patent
examiners in exchange for their consideration of after final amendments that
might result in allowance of the application. Prior to the pilot program even
amendments requiring nominal further consideration were routinely denied under
37 C.F.R. § 1.116.
Under the terms of the first version of the pilot,
examiners decided whether the after final amendment could be fully considered,
including any additional search required, within the three hour time limit
provided for by the program. (i.e., fully considered and allowed). There was no
need to file any special request in the previous version of the program.
Recognizing that some examiners were treating such
submissions inconsistently, and that unsuccessful amendments proceeded along
the normal course without any additional added value (e.g.,
acknowledgment/feedback from the examiner), the USPTO has provided for examiner
further communication in version 2.0.
Under the terms of the revised pilot program, applicants
If the amendment does not result in allowance, the
examiner must contact the applicant to schedule an interview to discuss the
Note: this program does not apply to patent reexamination
or reissue proceedings.
View more from Patents Post-Grant.
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