USPTO Extends First Action Interview Program Through November 16

28 August 2012 PharmaPatents Blog

The USPTO has extended the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program to November 16, 2012. According to the notice available on the USPTO’s Web site, the USPTO is “analyzing feedback obtained in response to the July 9, 2012 request for comments,” which were due 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.

Preliminary Results

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:

  1. effectively advancing prosecution of an application before issuance of an Office action
  2. enhanced interaction between the applicant and the examiner before issuance of an Office action
  3. resolving patentability issues one-on-one with the examiner at the beginning of the prosecution process, rather than after a first Office action; and
  4. expedited allowance of an application, relative to standard examination, due to the program’s enhanced communication and shorter time periods for response.

Evaluating the Program

With only 2,100 requests to participate in the First Action Interview program 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. I am generally in favor of this program, as it appears to offer potential benefits with few drawbacks.

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