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USPTO Expands First Action Interview Program

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11.01.2009 | Advisory

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently announced that it is expanding the First Action Interview Pilot Program to additional art units. It will also be modifying the procedures under the program in an attempt to enhance efficiency and offer more options to participants. Under the program, participants receive a Pre-Interview Communication containing the results of a prior art search performed by the examiner. In response to this communication, applicants can conduct an interview with the examiner to discuss the results of the search and its impact on the claims. One important change in the so-called “enhanced” program will allow participants to waive the interview after receipt of the prior art search and receive a first Office action as under normal prosecution. In the original program, participants who failed to respond to the Pre-Interview Communication or failed to conduct the interview in a timely manner would risk abandonment of the application. Eligibility requirements for the enhanced and original programs are set forth below.

Eligibility Requirements for Enhanced First-Action Interview Pilot Program

New utility nonprovisional applications that fall within one of the following groups may be eligible for the Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program:

  1. Applications filed on or before November 1, 2006, and assigned to workgroup 1610 (art units 161X).
  2. Applications filed on or before October 1, 2006, and assigned to art unit 1795.
  3. Applications filed on or before February 1, 2008, and assigned to workgroups 2150 and 2160 (art units 215X and 216X).
  4. Applications filed on or before July 1, 2008, and assigned to workgroups 2440 and 2450 (art units 244X and 245X).
  5. Applications filed on or before June 1, 2007, and assigned to art unit 2617.
  6. Applications filed on or before May 1, 2008, and assigned to art units 2811-2815, 2818, 2822-23, 2826, 2891-2895.
  7. Applications filed on or before December 1, 2007, and assigned to art unit 3671.
  8. Applications filed on or before January 1, 2008, and assigned to art unit 3672.
  9. Applications filed on or before November 1, 2007, and assigned to art unit 3673.
  10. Applications filed on or before February 1, 2008, and assigned to art unit 3676.
  11. Applications filed on or before July 1, 2007, and assigned to art units 3677.
  12. Applications filed on or before November 1, 2007, and assigned to art units 3679.
  13. Applications filed on or before May 1, 2006, and assigned to art unit 3735.
  14. Applications filed on or before April 1, 2007, and assigned to art unit 3736.
  15. Applications filed on or before December 1, 2006, and assigned to art units 3737.
  16. Applications filed on or before August 1, 2006, and assigned to art units 3768.
  17. Applications filed on or before December 1, 2006, and assigned to art unit 3739.
  18. Applications filed on or before September 1, 2007, and assigned to art units 3762 and 3766.
  19. Applications filed on or before September 1, 2006, and assigned to art unit 3769.

Eligibility Requirements for Original First-Action Interview Pilot Program

Previously, new utility applications that fell within either Group I or Group II as outlined below were eligible for the original First Action Interview Pilot Program:

 Group I:

(1) Filed on or before September 1, 2005, and prior to a first action on the merits;
 
(2) Classified in Class 709 (Electrical Computers and Digital Processing Systems: Multi-Computer Data Transferring); and
(3) Assigned to an art unit in either working group 2140 (group art unit 214x) or 2150 (group art unit 215x).

 Group II:

(1) Filed on or before November 1, 2006, and prior to a first action on the merits;
 
(2) Classified in Class 707 (Data Processing:  Database and File Management or Data Structures); and
(3) Assigned to an art unit in working group 2160 (group art unit 216x).

This advisory was prepared by Nutter's Intellectual Property practice. For more information, please contact your Nutter attorney at 617-439-2000.

This update is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered as advertising.

 

 

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