The USPTO has announced that the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 program will be extended until September 30, 2020. This program is designed to advance the progress of an application after prosecution has closed.
The AFCP 2.0 program encourages collaboration and communication between applicants and examiners. Applicants may enjoy additional time for examiners to conduct further searches and/or consider responses to final office actions where doing so would not burden the examiner. The additional time granted under AFCP 2.0 is intended for interviews during which the applicant and examiner can review the results of any additional searches and/or the arguments/amendments set forth in an after-final response.
To qualify for AFCP 2.0, an applicant must file the following:
- A response under 37 C.F.R. §1.116 to a final rejection, which includes an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the claim, and
- Form PTO/SB434
In general, an AFCP 2.0 request will be granted if the after-final response places the application in condition for allowance or can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance with only limited further searching/consideration.