AFCP 2.0 and QPIDS Pilot Programs Extended Until Sept. 30, 2018

By: Thomas Scherer

The After-Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) and Quick Path IDS (QPIDS) pilot programs have been extended to Sept. 30, 2018.  These programs facilitate efficient and expedited examination.

The AFCP 2.0 program allocates additional time to Examiners for the consideration of non-broadening amendments made after the issuance of a final office action.  If the Examiner is able to confirm allowability of an application in the allotted time under the program, the amendments will be entered and the case immediately proceeds to allowance.  Otherwise, the Examiner will conduct an Examiner Interview with the Applicant to explain the reasons why the amendments are not deemed to place the application into allowance.  Accordingly, in either case, examination becomes more efficient as Examiners and Applicants are able to work together in an effort to expedite prosecution.

The QPIDS program allows information to be submitted after the payment of the issue fee has been made as long as the information can be certified under 37 C.F.R. 1.97(e) and the appropriate fees are paid.  More specifically, the program allows the fee for filing an IDS after Notice of Allowance and the fee for a Request for Continued Examination (RCE) to be paid conditionally and permits the Examiner to consider the information prior to issuance of the patent.  If the Examiner finds the claims patentable over the new information, the RCE fee will be returned to the Applicant and the patent proceeds immediately to issuance.  Alternatively, if the new information warrants a further office action, the IDS fee will be returned to the Applicant and prosecution will be re-opened.  Again, in either case, examination becomes more efficient because prosecution is only re-opened in cases that actually require further substantive consideration based on the new information.

For more information, please visit the USPTO’s web pages for AFCP 2.0 and QPIDS.