On May 19, 2013, the USPTO launched the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP), thereby extending and revising the original After Final Consideration Pilot that was implemented in March, 2012. Designed to further the goal of compact prosecution, the AFCP 2.0 provides examiners with additional time to consider applicant responses after a final rejection. Under the new version of the program, examiners will utilize the additional time to interview and discuss their thinking with applicants even if a response does not place an application in condition for allowance. Applicants and practitioners can use this program to avoid filing a Request for Continued Examination to have amendments considered and allowed. To do so, applicants must submit a response under 37 C.F.R. § 1.116 that includes a non-broadening amendment to at least one independent claim, along with a request under the pilot program. The AFCP 2.0 will run until September 30, 2013, and further details are available at the links below.

To read the USPTO’s announcement, click here.
To read the Notice in the Federal Register, click here.
To read the USPTO’s guidelines for consideration under the pilot, click here.