- September 29, 2017
- Posted by: Brennen Baylor
- Category: Blog
The USPTO has announced that both the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 and the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) programs will be extended until September 30, 2018. Both programs are designed to advance the progress of an application after prosecution has closed.
The AFCP 2.0 program encourages collaboration and communication between applicants and examiners. Applicants may enjoy additional time for examiners to conduct further searches and/or consider responses to final office actions where doing so would not burden the examiner. The additional time granted under AFCP 2.0 is intended for interviews during which the applicant and examiner can review the results of any additional searches and/or the arguments/amendments set forth in an after-final response.
To qualify for AFCP 2.0, an applicant must file the following:
- A response under 37 C.F.R. §1.116 to a final rejection, which includes an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the claim, and
- Form PTO/SB434
In general, an AFCP 2.0 request will be granted if the after-final response places the application in condition for allowance or can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance with only limited further searching/consideration.
The USPTO implemented the QPIDS program to further streamline prosecution by allowing applicants to file information disclosure statements (IDS) after payment of the issue fee in allowed cases. Ordinarily, when an applicant wishes to submit an IDS after the issue fee has been paid, a request for continued examination must also be filed, thereby reopening examination.
However, under QPIDS, if the examiner concludes that the contents of the IDS requires that prosecution be reopened, the IDS may simply be filed and a corrected notice of allowability will be issued.
To file an IDS under the QPIDS program, an applicant must file the IDS along with the required form SB/09. All compliant requests filed on or before the September 30, 2018 cutoff will be considered under the program.
The extension of these successful pilot programs is great news to applicants seeking to reduce overall time and costs associated with prosecution by working closely with the USPTO. This extension signifies another effort by the USPTO to achieve the goal of compact prosecution.