Post Allowance and Refiling
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the continuing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).
After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has modified the After Final Consideration Pilot Program (AFCP) to create the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (AFCP 2.0). Applicants who wish to participate in AFCP 2.0 must file a request to have a response after final rejection (which the examiner may have sufficient basis not to consider under current practice) considered by the examiner without reopening prosecution. The response after final rejection must include an amendment to at least one independent claim. The examiner will be allotted a set amount of time under AFCP 2.0 to consider the response. If the examiner's consideration of a proper AFCP 2.0 request and response does not result in a determination that all pending claims are in condition for allowance, the examiner will request an interview with the applicant to discuss the response. There are thus three main differences between AFCP and AFCP 2.0: an applicant must request to participate in AFCP 2.0; a response after final rejection under AFCP 2.0 must include an amendment to at least one independent claim; and the examiner will request an interview with the applicant to discuss a response, if the response did not result in a determination that all pending claims are in condition for allowance. The goal of AFCP 2.0 is to reduce pendency by reducing the number of Requests for Continued Examination (RCE) and encouraging increased collaboration between the applicant and the examiner to effectively advance the prosecution of the application. There is no additional fee required to request consideration of an amendment after final rejection under AFCP 2.0, but any necessary existing fee, e.g., the fee for an extension of time, must still be paid.