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USPTO to Test New Post Final Rejection Option

03-Apr-2012 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 7550
WASHINGTON - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its on-going efforts towards compact prosecution and increased collaboration between examiners and stakeholders, announced in a press release the start of the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP).

“Compact prosecution is one of our top goals,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, David Kappos. “The AFCP pilot will allow some additional flexibility for applicants and examiners to work together in after final situations to move applications toward allowance.”

AFCP authorizes a limited amount of non-production time for examiners to consider responses filed after a final rejection. USPTO seeks to determine if authorizing this time will increase the number of applications that are allowed at that point in prosecution and reduce the number of Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs).

For utility, plant and reissue applications, the limited amount of time is three hours; for design applications, one hour. Examiners will be encouraged to use their professional judgment to decide whether a response can be fully considered, including any additional search required, within the time limit in order to determine whether the application is in condition for allowance.
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