• Subscribe

    Subscribe to the RSS feed Subscribe to the blogs's ATOM feed
    Add to your Google Home Page or Google Reader Add to your My Yahoo!
    Add to your My MSN Add to your My AOL
    Subscribe to the Comments RSS feed Add to your Bloglines
    Email Subscription



  • The opinions, commentary and characterizations provided to this online forum by the authors and moderators are provided for encouraging discussion, thought and debate on important post grant issues. These postings are in no way representative of the opinions of Oblon Spivak et al., or its clients.

USPTO Encourages Examiner Consideration of After Final Responses

Posted On: Mar. 26, 2012   By: Scott A. McKeown
after final practiceAfter Final Pilot Program Designed to Cut Down on RCE Filing Rates

A bit of “pre-grant” news today…. the USPTO has launched a new, internal pilot program entitled “After Final Consideration Pilot” (AFCP). The memo announcing the program to the Examining Corps outlines the purpose as: To advance the goal of compact prosecution, the following guidance is provided to highlight situations when entry of an Amendment After Final Rejection under 37 CFR 1.116(b) may lead to earlier allowance of the application without undue burden on the examiner or applicant. . . . In limited situations further amendments or arguments may be considered.”

In a nutshell the program allots additional time to examiners to consider applicant submissions after final rejection, explaining:

A full and complete review of a response includes any additional search required to determine whether or not proposed amendments distinguish over the prior art. Examiners should review responses under 37 CFR 1.116(b) and use their professional judgment to decide whether the nature and extent of the amendments or arguments presented in the response can be fully considered within the limited amount of time authorized by the After Final Consideration Pilot.

If the examiner determines that the response can be fully considered, including any additional search required, within 3 hours for plant and utility applications or 1 hour for design applications, that amount of non-production time is available whether or not the consideration of the amendment results in allowance of the application . .

(emphasis added)

The memo is found (here).

A full and complete review of a response includes any additional search required to determine whether or not proposed amendments distinguish over the prior art. Examiners should review responses under 37 CFR 1.116(b) and use their professional judgment to decide whether the nature and extent of the amendments or arguments presented in the response can be fully considered within the limited amount of time
authorized by the After Final Consideration Pilot.

One Response to “USPTO Encourages Examiner Consideration of After Final Responses”

  1. Prosecutor XXX says:

    This is quite a scoop! None of the lesser patent sites have this yet.