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Archive for April, 2012

After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP)

April 3, 2012 Comments off

The USPTO announced today the creation of the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) which will provide for amendment of some patent applications after a Final Office Action has been received.  Prior to the pilot program, after a Final Office Action has been issued, a patent applicant typically was unable to make amendments to the patent application.  The AFCP allows for possible amendment of patent applications after a Final Office Action in the following situations: 

  • The amendment places the application in condition for allowance by canceling claims or complying with formal requirement(s) in response to objection(s) made in the final office action.
  • The amendment places the application in condition for allowance by rewriting objected-to claims in independent form.
  • The amendment places the application in condition for allowance by incorporating limitations from objected-to claims into independent claims, if the new claim can be determined to be allowable with only a limited amount of further consideration or search.
  • The amendment can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance with only a limited amount of further search or consideration, even if new claims are added without cancelling a corresponding number of finally rejected claims.
  • The amendment can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance by adding new limitation(s) which require only a limited amount of further consideration or search.
  • The response comprises a perfected 37 CFR 1.131 or 37 CFR 1.132 affidavit or declaration (i.e. a new declaration which corrects formal defects noted in a prior affidavit or declaration) which can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance with only a limited amount of further search or consideration.

The USPTO has issued Guidelines for Consideration of Responses After Final Rejection.  It is expected that the new guidelines will help alleviate the Request for Continued Examination (RCE) backlog that has occurred at the USPTO.

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