Patent Office Extends After Final Consideration Pilot ProgramSeptember 17, 2015

The After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP 2.0) program provides patent applicants at the USPTO with the opportunity to address issues that may remain in an application after a final rejection has issued. The AFCP 2.0 program is something of an exception to typical procedure, wherein a patent examiner has considerable discretion as to whether to even consider an amendment submitted after a final rejection. Very often, such consideration may require submission of a request for continued examination (RCE), at significant cost to the applicant. Under the AFCP 2.0 program, an applicant may request consideration of additional amendments, and if the application qualifies, entitles the applicant to an additional examiner interview. The program is free, and incentivizes both the applicant and the patent examiner to resolve outstanding issues without incurring the additional cost or effort of an RCE.

The AFCP 2.0 program was slated to expire September 30, 2015. The USPTO, however, has extended the program until September 30, 2016. Although the USPTO apparently did not make any formal announcement, the programs extension can be seen as a vote of confidence in its effectiveness.

Additional information regarding the AFCP 2.0 program can be found here.

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