The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has extended the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) and the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot programs until September 30, 2017.
To be considered for the AFCP 2.0 program, a response under 37 CFR § 1.116 must include a request for consideration (Form PTO/SB/434) and an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any aspect. Additional non-examining (other) time is authorized for the Examiner to consider and act on the after-final amendment. If the Examiner determines that the amendment cannot be addressed fully in the additional time granted under the AFCP 2.0, the Examiner will issue an Advisory Action indicating that the amendment was not entered.
Under QPIDS, an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) submitted after the payment of the issue fee and before the patent issues may be considered without requiring a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). For consideration under QPIDS, the applicant must file an IDS with a certification under 37 CFR § 1.97(e), a petition to withdraw from issue and an RCE. Upon consideration of the IDS, if the Examiner determines that no cited item of information necessitates reopening prosecution, the PTO will mail a corrected notice of allowability, the patent will issue, and the RCE will not be entered. On the other hand, if the Examiner determines that prosecution needs to be reopened, the petition to withdraw from issue and the RCE will be entered, and the applicant will be charged the pertinent fees.