On May 19, 2013, the USPTO launched the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0). Using information obtained from the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP), which began on March 25, 2012 and ended May 18, 2013, the USPTO continues their on-going efforts toward compact prosecution. The USPTO also continues to increase collaboration efforts between examiners and stakeholders.
One of the goals of the policy of “compact” prosecution is to provide applicants with prompt and complete examination of their applications. AFCP gives extra time for examiners to search and/or consider responses after final rejection. If a response does not place the application in condition for allowance, the idea is the applicant will benefit from the extra time to schedule and conduct interviews to discuss results of searches and/or considerations. Like AFCP, AFCP 2.0 also revised procedure for obtaining consideration and focuses the pilot on review of proposed claim amendments.
AFCP 2.0 is scheduled to run through September 30, 2013, i.e., any request to consider a response after final rejection under AFCP 2.0 must be filed on or before September 30, 2013.
A response under 37 CFR §1.116 is required to become eligible for consideration under AFCP 2.0. This includes a request for consideration under the pilot (Form PTO/SB/434) and an amendment to at least one (1) independent claim that does not expand the scope of the independent claim in any way.
You can find the Notice published in the Federal Register at 78 Fed. Reg. 29117. Examiners will use their judgment to determine if the response can be fully considered under AFCP 2.0.
If you received a final rejection under 37 CFR 1.116 and you believe further searching and/or consideration by the examiner will lead to allowance of your application then you may want to make a request for consideration under AFCP 2.0.
For information on how to request consideration under AFCP 2.0, please contact Robert J. Sayfie by visiting www.sayfie.com or calling toll free at 888-468-0444.