The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has extended the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 through September 30, 2023. This program offers patent Applicants the opportunity to request additional time for examiners to search for prior art and consider responses after final rejection.
Under AFCP 2.0, examiners may use the additional time to schedule and conduct an interview to discuss the results of their search and consideration with Applicant or Applicant's legal representative. The program is intended to enhance communication between the Patent Office and Applicant even if the response does not place the patent application in condition for immediate allowance.
A response eligible for consideration under AFCP 2.0 includes 1) a complete response to final rejection filed with 2) a request for consideration under AFCP 2.0 and 3) an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any aspect. While not every AFCP 2.0 request is granted or results in allowance, a proper AFCP 2.0 request may afford an additional opportunity to advance examination before it is necessary to file a Request for Continued Examination.