Our client alert released on September 26, 2013 discussed the merits of the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0), which was scheduled to last until December 14, 2013. We are happy to note that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced yesterday that the pilot program is extended to September 30, 2014. The procedural and substantive details of the pilot program are not changed with the extension.
The AFCP 2.0 is one of a number of programs initiated by the USPTO that could lead to sooner final disposition of certain patent applications. The AFCP 2.0 is aimed at advancing compact prosecution, decreasing pendency by reducing the number of Requests for Continued Examination (RCE) and giving more opportunity for the examiner to collaborate with the applicant. Utility patent applications, plant patent applications and design patent applications that have received final Office Actions could benefit from participation in the AFCP 2.0. For more information on the AFCP 2.0, please refer to our detailed discussion of the AFCP 2.0 in the previous client alert. The extension of AFCP 2.0 gives applicants more time to take advantage of an avenue in patent prosecution, not requiring any USPTO fees, that could potentially result in a speedier allowance of the patent applications under the right circumstances.