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USPTO First Action Interview Pilot Program

There are many benefits of filing a patent application with a Request for First Action Interview Pilot Program. First, the program is open to all technology areas and filing dates as long as no substantive Office Actions have issued. Second, after reviewing a prior art search conducted by the examiner or Pre-Interview Communication, the applicant will conduct an interview with the examiner within 30 days. The ability to schedule an interview with the examiner early in the prosecution of the application has many benefits such as increasing the ability to advance prosecution of the application, enhancing interaction between the applicant and the examiner, resolving patentability issues one-on-one with the examiner at the beginning of the prosecution process, and possibly an early allowance. During the interview, the prior art searched, proposed rejections, amendments, and arguments are discussed. Lastly, the program is free.

Some of the requirements to participate in the program include the following. Applicant’s electronic request must be filed at least one day before a first Office action on the merits. A maximum of 3 independent claims and 20 total claims are allowed. If the application receives a restriction requirement, applicant must make an election without traverse or withdraw from the program. Applicant must provide written authorization to conduct any Internet e-mail communications with the examiner (Authorization for Internet Communication).

Of course, the applicant can decide after reviewing the Pre-Interview Communication to not conduct an interview with the examiner; however, the applicant cannot withdrawal from the program. As such, the examiner will issue a First-Action Interview Office Action and applicant will then have the shortened 30 days to respond and if necessary, an additional 30 days extension of time with fees. To learn more about a Request for First Action Interview Pilot Program, feel free to contact one of our attorneys.