USPTO has announced that the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0), which had been scheduled to expire on December 14, 2013, has been extended through September 30, 2014. The terms of the AFCP 2.0 program, as implemented May 13, 2013, are unchanged.
AFCP 2.0 authorizes additional time for examiners to search and/or consider responses after final rejection. Under AFCP 2.0, examiners will also use the additional time to schedule and conduct an interview to discuss the results of their search and/or consideration with the applicant if the response does not place the application in condition for allowance.
To be eligible for consideration under AFCP 2.0, a response under 37 CFR §1.116 must be filed, which includes a request for consideration under the pilot (Form PTO/SB/434) and an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any aspect. Please see the notice published in the Federal Register at 78 Fed. Reg. 29117 for a complete description of how to request consideration under AFCP 2.0. Examiners will use their professional judgment to decide whether the response can be fully considered under AFCP 2.0. This will include determining whether any additional search is required and can be completed within the allotted time, in order to determine whether the application can be allowed.
More information is available at www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/afcp.jsp