Request for Comments on Request for Continued Examination (RCE) Practice
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) currently has a backlog of over 90,000 patent applications that have not been examined since the filing of a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). This backlog diverts resources away from the examination of new applications. The Office is continuing its efforts to reduce the RCE backlog. For example, the Office recently implemented a pair of pilot programsthe Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot program and the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP)designed to reduce the need to file an RCE. The Office is now soliciting public feedback in an effort to better understand the full spectrum of factors that impact the decision to file an RCE. The Office is providing three different avenues for the public to provide their feedback on RCE practice: (1) Through the submission of written comments by electronic mail message over the Internet or by postal mail; (2) through the submission of written comments using a Web-based collaboration tool called IdeaScale[supreg]; and (3) through a series of roundtables that the Office is planning to conduct. The Office plans to use the information it obtains to design additional programs and initiatives aimed at reducing RCE filings and the RCE backlog.