The USPTO is extending a popular program that allows patent applicants to submit minor amendments for consideration after final rejection. Launched in May 2013, the USPTO’s After Final Consideration Pilot is designed to reduce patent application pendency and help applicants avoid the time and cost associated with Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs) after final rejection.
To take advantage of the program, applicants must submit a request and certification for consideration in the program, an amendment to at least one claim, and any fees that may be due. The amendment may not broaden the scope of the claims.
The Examiner will review the amendment and decide whether to accept it for additional consideration. Factors in the Examiner’s decision include whether the Examiner’s review of the amendment will only require a limited amount of additional consideration and search. If the response does not place the application in condition for allowance, the Examiner will schedule an interview with the applicant.
The After Final Consideration Pilot was originally scheduled to end on September 30, 2013. The USPTO’s announcement extends the program to include requests that are filed through December 14, 2013.