The USPTO has extended the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program to August 16, 2012. According to the Federal Register Notice, the USPTO is “completing a comprehensive review of the program, deciding what, if any, adjustments should be made to the program, and whether the program should be extended further or made permanent.” The USPTO is soliciting public comments on the program, and will consider written comments received by August 8, 2012.
The First Action Interview Program
As I wrote in this article, the USPTO promotes the First Action Interview program as a way to advance prosecution, enhance interaction between the applicant and the examiner, resolve issues one-on-one with the examiner early in prosecution, and facilitate early allowance. I have several applications in the program, and agree that it is a useful option for applicants.
According to the USPTO, over 2,100 requests to participate in the program have been received since it was expanded to encompass all applications. Of the applications that have been examined under the program, over 35% have been allowed in the first Action.
The USPTO believes that this program offers at least the following benefits:
Request for Comments
The USPTO interested in “receiving feedback as to whether the program is meeting the needs of its applicants, and whether any aspects of the program cause applicants to not participate.” In particular, the USPTO has asked for comments that respond to the following questions:
A Few More Weeks Of Datapoints?
I am somewhat surprised that the USPTO only extended this program for a few more weeks. Hopefully it will be extended again right away (so we won’t be left in limbo like we were in May), or made permanent.
With only 2,100 requests filed, it will be interesting to see how many comments are submitted, and what suggestions people may have for improving the program, or for making it more attractive. If you have used this program, I would be interested in hearing about your experience.