On May 19, 2013, the USPTO launched the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0. It is designed to be more efficient and effective than the original AFCP program. It is also designed to reduce the number of RCEs (Requests for Continued Examination) filed.

Like AFCP, AFCP 2.0 authorizes additional time for examiners to search and/or consider responses after a Final Rejection. Under AFCP 2.0, if the response does not place the application in condition for allowance, examiners will use the additional time to schedule and conduct an interview with counsel to discuss the results of their search and/or consideration.

To be eligible for consideration under AFCP 2.0, you must:

  • Receive a Final Rejection
  • File the following documents in EFS-Web within the Response to Final Rejection deadline:
    • A Response Under 37 CFR § 1.116
    • A Certification and Request for Consideration Under AFCP 2.0
    • An amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any aspect
      • The analysis of whether an amendment to an independent claim impermissibly broadens the scope of the claim will be analogous to the guidance set forth in MPEP 1412.03.
  • Be willing and available to participate in an interview with the examiner
    • Upon first contact from the examiner, counsel will have 10 calendar days to schedule an interview, or else the examiner will proceed consistent with current practice concerning Responses after Final Rejection Under 37 CFR § 1.116.

Any request under AFCP 2.0 must be filed by September 30, 2013. AFCP 2.0 is available for ordinary domestic applications (utility, design, plant); U.S. National Phase applications; and continuations, divisionals, and CIPs (Continuation in Part) of such applications. AFCP 2.0 is NOT available for reexam or reissue applications. No additional fees are due, but Extensions of Time of the Final Rejection due date must be paid (if applicable).

For more information, please see the Federal Register Notice and AFCP 2.0 Guidelines.