First Action Interview Pilot Program
The USPTO conducted the Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program in which utility applicants in certain art areas could participate (the Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program notice was published on October 20, 2009, at 1347 OG 173). The USPTO indicated in the notice the program would run until April 1, 2010. The USPTO extended the program to run until April 1, 2011 (extension notices were published on May 4, 2010, at 1354 OG 51, and on November 2, 2010, at 1360 OG 56). Under the program, participants were permitted to conduct an interview with the examiner after reviewing a Pre-Interview Communication providing the result of a prior art search conducted by the examiner. Participants experienced many benefits including: (1) the ability to advance prosecution of an application; (2) enhanced interaction between applicant and the examiner; (3) the opportunity to resolve patentability issues one-on-one with the examiner at the beginning of the prosecution process; and (4) the opportunity to facilitate possible early allowance.
Based upon comments and suggestions from the public, including participants and non-participants, as well as the Patent Office Professional Association (POPA), the Office expanded the Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program to all utility art areas. The May 5, 2011 notice announcing the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program states that any request for a First Action Interview will be granted if all of the requirements set forth in Section III (Requirements) of the notice are satisfied. The Full First Action Interview Pilot Program has been extended beyond November 16, 2012. A notice of extension will be issued in due course.
The procedure for the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program remains unchanged from, and offers the same benefits and flexibilities to the participants as, the procedure used during the Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program.
Full First Action Interview Pilot Program
More information about the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program is available here.