Recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) extended its After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) initiative through September 30, 2015. AFCP 2.0 is intended to advance the USPTO’s goal of compact prosecution by providing examiners with extra time to search and/or consider certain responses submitted after a final rejection. The additional time is intended to allow examiners to conduct interviews with applicants, even if an applicant’s after final response does not result in allowance.
After final responses must meet certain requirements to be eligible for consideration under AFCP 2.0. In the past, little information was provided as to how examiners treated the after final responses submitted in connection with AFCP 2.0 program. A new feature of the extended AFCP 2.0 program is the use of a specialized AFCP 2.0 form (PTO-2323) to inform applicants of the status of an AFCP 2.0 submission, and how the submission was treated by the examiner. Applicants requesting consideration of their responses under AFCP 2.0 should expect to see the PTO-2323 form around November of this year.