The USPTO recently announced its plans to continue the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP) through September 30, 2016. The AFCP was introduced by the USPTO as an initiative to improve the efficiency of the patent prosecution process. The program authorizes examiners to take additional time to search and consider responses to a final rejection, and even conduct an additional interview. WHIPgroup has made frequent use of this program, and use of the AFCP has resulted in a notice of allowance in almost half of the cases where it has been used. This has negated the need for an RCE or appeal, allowing WHIPgroup to keep prosecution costs low and obtain allowances faster.
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