Preliminary Success Warrants Extension

As detailed previously, the USPTO has launched a new, internal pilot program entitled “After Final Consideration Pilot” (AFCP) for patent applications. The program is designed to foster compact prosecution by encouraging examiner entry of an amendment submitted in response to a final rejection, in limited situations. (note this program does not apply to patent reexamination)

If you have submitted such a filing to the USPTO since March 26th, the examiner will determine whether he or she should take advantage of the additional examining time authorized by the pilot to consider the response. Examiners will use their professional judgment to decide whether the response can be fully considered, including any additional search required, within a three hour time limit in order to determine whether the application can be allowed. There is no need to file any special request for consideration of an amendment under this pilot program.

Preliminary reports indicate that the program has been an effective tool through June. (previously  scheduled to end June 16th). As a result, the program has been extended to September 30th.