On Monday 11 July, USPTO announced a new pilot program (P3), intended to boost the prosecution efficiency. Under the P3 program, an applicant can file a request for consideration after final rejection, statement that he is willing and available to participate in the event, along with copy of response to a final rejection, and optionally proposed non-broadening amendment to the one or more claims. The program provides an opportunity to the applicant to make an oral prosecution to a panel of examiners, and then receive a written decision from the panel.
Duration of the initiative:
The P3 pilot is scheduled to start from 11 July 2016 and will continue till earlier of 12 January 2017 or receipt of 1,600 compliant requests by USPTO. There are multiple technology centres involved in this initiative and one or more of them shall stop accepting further requests as soon as their counter reaches 200.
To participate in the P3 pilot program, applicant has to file a request within 2 months from the mailing date of final rejection, and before applying a notice of appeal. USPTO is providing facility to the applicant, to present an oral presentation to a panel of 3 examiners, during the conference. To apply for P3 Pilot program the requirements are as follows:
- A request form to apply under P3 pilot program;
- A statement within the Request Form that the applicant is willing and available to participate in a P3 conference with the panel of examiners;
- A response under 37 C.F.R. 1.116 comprising no more than 5 pages of arguments (exclusive of amendments) to final rejection; and
- Optionally a proposed non-broadening amendment to one or more claims.
There is no fee required to participant in the program. The goal of the P3 pilot program is to reduce the number of appeals take to patent trial and appeal board. It will also hopefully reduce the request for continued examination (RCE) filing after final rejection.
The USPTO is also requesting comments from the public, and suggestion to improve the prosecution process. The patent office plans to evaluate the public feedback to the pilot program so as to achieve its goals. Comments and suggestion can be sent by email on: afterfinalpractice@USPTO.gov, or by post to: USPTO, mail stop comments patents, office of commissioner for patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313 – 1450. View the USPTO Notice for more details.
About the Author: Saurabh Kumar Jain, Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys and can be reached at: Saurabh@khuranaandkhurana.com.