USPTO Extends Pilot Programs


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has extended the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) and the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot programs until September 30, 2014.

To be considered under AFCP 2.0, a response under 37 C.F.R. §1.116 must include a request for consideration under the pilot (Form PTO/SB/434) and an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any respect. Additional non-examining time is authorized for the examiner to consider and act on an after final amendment. If the examiner determines the amendment cannot be fully addressed in the additional time granted under the AFCP 2.0, the examiner is instructed to issue an Advisory Action indicating the amendment was not entered.

Under QPIDS, an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) submitted after the payment of the issue fee and before the patent issues, may be considered without requiring a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). For consideration under QPIDS, the applicant must file an IDS with a certification under 37 C.F.R. § 1.97(e), a petition to withdraw from issue and an RCE. Upon consideration of the IDS, if the examiner determines no cited item of information necessitates reopening prosecution, the USPTO will mail a corrected notice of allowability, the patent will issue and the RCE will not be entered. However, if the examiner determines that prosecution needs to be reopened, the petition to withdraw from issue and RCE will entered and Applicant will be charged the pertinent fees.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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