IP Update, Vol. 11, No. 4 (30 September 2013)

Editor: Marc S. Weiner, Esq.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Would Remain Open During Government Shutdown

The USPTO has announced that, in the event of a general government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will remain open for (at least) approximately four weeks. The USPTO plans to use their prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for those approximate four weeks.  In anticipation of the USPTO's prior year reserve fee collections being depleted, the USPTO will also assess their continual fee collections to determine how much longer they could operate at certain capacities during the general government shutdown.

In a worst case scenario where the USPTO does shut down due to exhausting their funds before a general government shutdown comes to an end, the USPTO has stated that it plans to at least accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure functions by maintaining a very small staff.

For more information on the USPTO's operating status, please see their announcement.

Summary provided by Aslan Ettehadieh.


After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 Extended Until December 14, 2013

The After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 program was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2013.  However, USPTO has recently announced that the AFCP 2.0 program has been extended to run through December 14, 2013.

The AFCP 2.0 program is part of the USPTO's on-going efforts towards compact prosecution and increased collaboration between examiners and stakeholders.  If successful, the AFCP 2.0 program should not only increase the allowance rate, but also decrease the RCE (Request for Continued Examination) backlog. 

In summary, the AFCP 2.0 program authorizes additional time for examiners to search and/or consider responses after final rejection when a response under 37 CFR §1.116 that includes both a request for consideration under the AFCP 2.0 program and an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any aspect.

For more information on AFCP 2.0, visit http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/afcp.jsp.

Summary provided by Aslan Ettehadieh.


Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) Extended Until December 14, 2013

The Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) program was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2013.  However, USPTO has recently announced that the QPIDS program has been extended to run through December 14, 2013.

The QPIDS program is part of the USPTO's on-going efforts towards compact prosecution and pendency reduction.  If successful, the QPIDS program should not only help reduce the patent pendency, but also help decrease the RCE (Request for Continued Examination) backlog. 

In summary, the QPIDS program eliminates the requirement for processing of an RCE with an information disclosure statement (IDS) filed after payment of the issue fee (but prior to the patent granting) in order for the IDS to be considered by the examiner.  However, in addition to other requirements necessary to comply with the QPIDS program, one must first determine that the references to be submitted in the IDS meet the 'statement' requirements as set forth in 37 C.F.R. 1.97(e)(1) or (e)(2). Accordingly, if one meets all the requirements of the QPIDS program and the examiner determines that no item of information in the IDS necessitates reopening prosecution, the USPTO will issue a corrected notice of allowability.

For more information on QPIDS, visit http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/qpids.jsp

Summary provided by Aslan Ettehadieh.