2676 Appeal Conference [R-7]
All appellant and respondent briefs will be processed in the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU). The CRU will forward the reexamination file to the examiner after all appellant and respondent briefs have been filed or after the time for filing them has expired.
As long as one timely appellant brief has been filed, the case must be considered for appeal by the examiner. The examiner will consult with the Reexamination Legal Advisor (RLA) as to the procedural considerations and should then formulate an initial opinion as to whether an examiner’s answer should be prepared, or prosecution should be reopened and a non-final Office action issued.
If the examiner reaches the conclusion that the appeal should go forward and an examiner’s answer should be prepared, the examiner will arrange (via the ** > CRU Supervisory Patent Examiner (SPE) or Technology Center (TC) Quality Assurance Specialist (QAS) < ) for an appeal conference to be conducted pursuant to the procedures set forth in MPEP § 1208. The * > CRU SPE/TC QAS < will notify the RLA of the appeal conference, which the RLA will attend to ensure that all issues are properly addressed in the examiner’s answer. In preparing for the appeal conference, the examiner should review the case so that he/she will be prepared to discuss the issues raised in all the briefs. The examiner should be prepared to propose to the conferees how he/she will address each issue raised in the appellant and respondent briefs. The appeal conference will be held in accordance with the procedures as set forth in MPEP § 1208 ** . The examiner will have two weeks following the appeal conference to prepare the examiner’s answer.
If the examiner reaches the conclusion that the appeal should not go forward, no appeal conference is held. Prosecution is reopened, and the examiner issues of a new non-final Office action. The examiner should, at this point, consult with the RLA to discuss at what point in the prosecution the prosecution should be reopened, and then the examiner will prepare an appropriate Office action.
See MPEP § 2638 for the appropriate code to use for reporting time spent with respect to the appeal conference.