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708    Order of Examination [R-11.2013]

Nonprovisional applications filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and accepted as complete applications are assigned for examination to the respective examining Technology Centers (TCs) having the classes of inventions to which the applications relate. Nonprovisional applications are ordinarily taken up for examination by the examiner to whom they have been assigned in the order in which they have been filed except for those applications in which examination has been advanced pursuant to 37 CFR 1.102. See 37 CFR 1.496 and MPEP § 1893.03 for the order of examination of international applications in the national stage, including taking up out of order certain national stage applications which have been indicated as satisfying the criteria of PCT Article 33(1)-(4) as to novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.

Applications which have been acted upon by the examiner, and which have been placed by the applicant in condition for further action by the examiner (amended applications) shall be taken up for action in such order as shall be determined by the Director of the USPTO.

Each examiner will give priority to that application in his or her docket, whether amended or new, which has the oldest effective U.S. filing date. This basic policy applies to all applications; rare circumstances may justify TC Directors granting individual exceptions.

The actual filing date of a continuation-in-part application is used for docketing purposes. However, the examiner may act on a continuation-in-part application by using the effective filing date, if desired.

If at any time an examiner determines that the “effective filing date” status of any application differs from what the records show, the technical support staff should be informed, who should promptly amend the records to show the correct status, with the date of correction.

The order of examination for each examiner is to give priority to reissue applications and to reexamination proceedings, with top priority to reissue applications in which litigation has been stayed (MPEP § 1442.03), to ex parte reexamination proceedings involved in litigation (MPEP § 2261), and to inter partes reexamination proceedings involved in litigation (MPEP § 2661), then to those special cases having a fixed 30-day due date, such as examiner’s answers and decisions on motions. Most other cases in the “special” category (for example, interference cases, cases made special by petition, cases ready for final conclusion, etc.) will continue in this category, with the earliest effective U.S. filing date among them normally controlling priority.

All amendments before final rejection should be responded to within two months of receipt.

708.01   List of Special Cases [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.102   Advancement of examination.

  • (a) Applications will not be advanced out of turn for examination or for further action except as provided by this part, or upon order of the Director to expedite the business of the Office, or upon filing of a request under paragraph (b) or (e)of this section or upon filing a petition under paragraphs (c) or (d) of this section with a showing which, in the opinion of the Director, will justify so advancing it.
  • (b) Applications wherein the inventions are deemed of peculiar importance to some branch of the public service and the head of some department of the Government requests immediate action for that reason, may be advanced for examination.
  • (c) A petition to make an application special may be filed without a fee if the basis for the petition is:
    • (1) The applicant’s age or health; or
    • (2) That the invention will materially:
      • (i) Enhance the quality of the environment;
      • (ii) Contribute to the development or conservation of energy resources; or
      • (iii) Contribute to countering terrorism.
  • (d) A petition to make an application special on grounds other than those referred to in paragraph (c) of this section must be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(h).
  • (e) A request for prioritized examination under this paragraph must comply with the requirements of this paragraph and be accompanied by the prioritized examination fee set forth in § 1.17(c), the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i), and if not already paid, the publication fee set forth in § 1.18(d). An application for which prioritized examination has been requested may not contain or be amended to contain more than four independent claims, more than thirty total claims, or any multiple dependent claim. Prioritized examination under this paragraph will not be accorded to international applications that have not entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, design applications, reissue applications, provisional applications, or reexamination proceedings. A request for prioritized examination must also comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) or paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
    • (1) A request for prioritized examination may be filed with an original utility or plant nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) that is complete as defined by § 1.51(b), with any fees due under § 1.16 paid on filing. If the application is a utility application, it must be filed via the Office's electronic filing system. The request for prioritized examination in compliance with this paragraph must be present upon filing of the application.
    • (2) A request for prioritized examination may be filed with or after a request for continued examination in compliance with § 1.114. If the application is a utility application, the request must be filed via the Office’s electronic filing system. The request must be filed before the mailing of the first Office action after the filing of the request for continued examination under § 1.114. Only a single such request for prioritized examination under this paragraph may be granted in an application.

Certain procedures by the examiners take precedence over actions even on special cases.

For example, all papers typed and ready for signature should be completed and mailed.

All allowed cases returned to the examiner marked as a "Printer Rush" must be processed and returned within the period indicated.

Reissue applications, particularly those involved in stayed litigation, should be given priority.

Applications in which practice requires that the examiner act within a set period, such as 2 months after appellants brief to furnish the examiner’s answers (MPEP § 1208), necessarily take priority over special cases without specific time limits.

If an examiner has an application in which he or she is satisfied that it is in condition for allowance, or in which he or she is satisfied will have to be finally rejected, he or she should give such action forthwith instead of making the application await its turn.

Subject alone to diligent prosecution by the applicant, an application for patent that has once been made special and advanced out of turn for examination by reason of a ruling made in that particular case (by the Director of the USPTO or a Commissioner) will continue to be special throughout its entire course of prosecution in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including appeal, if any, to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

The following is a list of special cases (those which are advanced out of turn for examination):

  • (A) Applications wherein the inventions are deemed of peculiar importance to some branch of the public service and when for that reason the head of some department of the Government requests immediate action and the Director of the USPTO so orders (37 CFR 1.102).
  • (B) Applications made special as a result of a petition to make special, a request for prioritized examination, or a request for participation in a PPH program. (See MPEP § 708.02et seq.)

  • (C) Applications for reissues, particularly those involved in stayed litigation (37 CFR 1.176).
  • (D) Applications remanded by an appellate tribunal for further action.
  • (E) An application, once taken up for action by an examiner according to its effective filing date, should be treated as special by an examiner, art unit or Technology Center to which it may subsequently be transferred; exemplary situations include new cases transferred as the result of a telephone election and cases transferred as the result of a timely reply to any official action.
  • (F) Applications which appear to interfere with other applications previously considered and found to be allowable, or which will be placed in interference with an unexpired patent or patents.
  • (G) Applications ready for allowance, or ready for allowance except as to formal matters.
  • (H) Applications which are in condition for final rejection.
  • (I) Applications pending more than 5 years, including those which, by relation to a prior United States application, have an effective pendency of more than 5 years. See MPEP § 707.02.
  • (J) Reexamination proceedings, MPEP §§ 2261 and 2661.

See also MPEP §§ 714.13, 1207, and 1309.

708.02   Petition To Make Special [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.102   Advancement of examination.

  • (a) Applications will not be advanced out of turn for examination or for further action except as provided by this part, or upon order of the Director to expedite the business of the Office, or upon filing of a request under paragraph (b) or (e) of this section or upon filing a petition under paragraphs (c) or (d) of this section with a showing which, in the opinion of the Director, will justify so advancing it.
  • (b) Applications wherein the inventions are deemed of peculiar importance to some branch of the public service and the head of some department of the Government requests immediate action for that reason, may be advanced for examination.
  • (c) A petition to make an application special may be filed without a fee if the basis for the petition is:
    • (1) The applicant’s age or health; or
    • (2) That the invention will materially:
      • (i) Enhance the quality of the environment;
      • (ii) Contribute to the development or conservation of energy resources; or
      • (iii) Contribute to countering terrorism.
  • (d) A petition to make an application special on grounds other than those referred to in paragraph (c) of this section must be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(h).
  • (e) A request for prioritized examination under this paragraph must comply with the requirements of this paragraph and be accompanied by the prioritized examination fee set forth in § 1.17(c), the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i), and if not already paid, the publication fee set forth in § 1.18(d). An application for which prioritized examination has been requested may not contain or be amended to contain more than four independent claims, more than thirty total claims, or any multiple dependent claim. Prioritized examination under this paragraph will not be accorded to international applications that have not entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, design applications, reissue applications, provisional applications, or reexamination proceedings. A request for prioritized examination must also comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) or paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
    • (1) A request for prioritized examination may be filed with an original utility or plant nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) that is complete as defined by § 1.51(b), with any fees due under § 1.16 paid on filing. If the application is a utility application, it must be filed via the Office's electronic filing system. The request for prioritized examination in compliance with this paragraph must be present upon filing of the application.
    • (2) A request for prioritized examination may be filed with or after a request for continued examination in compliance with § 1.114. If the application is a utility application, the request must be filed via the Office’s electronic filing system. The request must be filed before the mailing of the first Office action after the filing of the request for continued examination under § 1.114. Only a single such request for prioritized examination under this paragraph may be granted in an application.

New applications ordinarily are taken up for examination in the order of their effective United States filing dates. Certain exceptions are made by way of petitions to make special, which may be granted under the conditions set forth below. Any statement in support of a petition to make special must be based on a good faith belief that the invention in fact qualifies for special status. See 37 CFR 1.56 and 11.18.

Any petition to make special, other than those based on applicant’s health or age or participation in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program, filed on or after August 25, 2006 must meet the requirements for the revised accelerated examination program set forth in MPEP § 708.02(a). For prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e), see MPEP § 708.02(b).See subsections I and II below for the requirements for filing a petition to make special based on applicant’s health or age.

See the version of MPEP § 708.02 in force in August 2010 (Eighth Edition, Revision 9) for guidelines and the requirements for a petition to make special filed in an application before August 25, 2006. A petition to make special filed on or after August 25, 2006 will only be granted if it is based upon applicant’s health or age, is under the PPH pilot program (see MPEP § 708.02(c)), or complies with the requirements set forth in MPEP § 708.02(a). For a request for prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e) filed on or after September 26, 2011, see MPEP § 708.02(b).

I.   APPLICANT’S HEALTH

An application may be made special upon a petition by applicant accompanied by any evidence showing that the state of health of the applicant is such that he or she might not be available to assist in the prosecution of the application if it were to run its normal course, such as a doctor’s certificate or other medical certificate. No fee is required for such a petition. See 37 CFR 1.102(c).

Personal/medical information submitted as evidence to support the petition will be available to the public if the application file and contents are available to the public pursuant to 37 CFR 1.11 or 1.14. If applicant does not wish to have this information become part of the application file record, the information must be submitted pursuant to MPEP § 724.02.

II.   APPLICANT’S AGE

An application may be made special upon filing a petition including any evidence showing that the applicant is 65 years of age, or more, such as applicant’s statement or a statement from a registered practitioner that he or she has evidence that the applicant is 65 years of age or older. No fee is required with such a petition. See 37 CFR 1.102(c).

Personal/medical information submitted as evidence to support the petition will be available to the public if the application file and contents are available to the public pursuant to 37 CFR 1.11 or 1.14. If applicant does not wish to have this information become part of the application file record, the information must be submitted pursuant to MPEP § 724.02.

III.   ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will accord “special” status to all patent applications for inventions which materially enhance the quality of the environment of mankind by contributing to the restoration or maintenance of the basic life-sustaining natural elements, i.e., air, water, and soil.

All applicants desiring to participate in this program should petition that their applications be accorded “special” status. The petition under 37 CFR 1.102 must state that special status is sought because the invention materially enhances the quality of the environment of mankind by contributing to the restoration or maintenance of the basic life-sustaining natural elements. No fee is required for such a petition. See 37 CFR 1.102(c). If the application disclosure is not clear on its face that the claimed invention materially enhances the quality of the environment by contributing to the restoration or maintenance of one of the basic life-sustaining natural elements, the petition must be accompanied by a statement under 37 CFR 1.102 by the applicant, assignee, or an attorney/agent registered to practice before the Office explaining how the materiality standard is met. The materiality standard does not permit an applicant to speculate as to how a hypothetical end-user might specially apply the invention in a manner that could materially enhance the quality of the environment. Nor does such standard permit an applicant to enjoy the benefit of advanced examination merely because some minor aspect of the claimed invention may enhance the quality of the environment.

IV.   ENERGY

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will, on petition, accord “special” status to all patent applications for inventions which materially contribute to (A) the discovery or development of energy resources, or (B) the more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources. Examples of inventions in category (A) would be developments in fossil fuels (natural gas, coal, and petroleum), hydrogen fuel technologies, nuclear energy, solar energy, etc. Category (B) would include inventions relating to the reduction of energy consumption in combustion systems, industrial equipment, household appliances, etc.

All applicants desiring to participate in this program should petition that their applications be accorded “special” status. The petition under 37 CFR 1.102 must state that special status is sought because the invention materially contributes to category (A) or (B) set forth above. No fee is required for such a petition, 37 CFR 1.102(c). If the application disclosure is not clear on its face that the claimed invention materially contributes to category (A) or (B), the petition must be accompanied by a statement under 37 CFR 1.102 by the applicant, assignee, or an attorney/agent registered to practice before the Office explaining how the materiality standard is met. The materiality standard does not permit an applicant to speculate as to how a hypothetical end-user might specially apply the invention in a manner that could materially contribute to category (A) or (B). Nor does such standard permit an applicant to enjoy the benefit of advanced examination merely because some minor aspect of the claimed invention may be directed to category (A) or (B).

V.   INVENTIONS FOR COUNTERING TERRORISM

In view of the importance of developing technologies for countering terrorism and the desirability of prompt disclosure of advances made in these fields, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will accord “special” status to patent applications for inventions which materially contribute to countering terrorism.

International terrorism as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2331 includes “activities that - (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; [and] (B) appear to be intended - (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping...” The types of technology for countering terrorism could include, but are not limited to, systems for detecting/identifying explosives, aircraft sensors/security systems, and vehicular barricades/disabling systems.

All applicants desiring to participate in this program should petition that their applications be accorded special status. The petition under 37 CFR 1.102 must state that special status is sought because the invention materially contributes to countering terrorism. No fee is required for such a petition. See 37 CFR 1.102(c). If the application disclosure is not clear on its face that the claimed invention is materially directed to countering terrorism, the petition must be accompanied by a statement under 37 CFR 1.102 by the applicant, assignee, or an attorney/agent registered to practice before the Office explaining how the invention materiality contributes to countering terrorism. The materiality standard does not permit an applicant to speculate as to how a hypothetical end-user might specially apply the invention in a manner that could counter terrorism. Nor does such standard permit an applicant to enjoy the benefit of advanced examination merely because some minor aspect of the claimed invention may be directed to countering terrorism.

VI.   HANDLING OF PETITIONS TO MAKE SPECIAL OR REQUESTS FOR ADVANCEMENT OF EXAMINATION

Applications which have been made special will be advanced out of turn for examination and will continue to be treated as special throughout the entire prosecution in the Office with the exception of applications having been granted prioritized examination which do not remain special on appeal.

Each petition to make special or request to advance examination, regardless of the ground upon which the petition or request is based and the nature of the decision, is made of record in the application file, together with the decision thereon. The part of the Office that rules on a petition is responsible for properly entering that petition and the resulting decision in the file record. The petition, with any attached papers and supporting affidavits, will be provided as a single document in the application’s image file wrapper. The decision will be provided as a separate document similarly entered. To ensure entries in the “Contents” in proper order, the technical support staff in the TC will make certain that all papers prior to a petition have been entered and/or listed in the application file before forwarding it for consideration of the petition. Note MPEP § 1002.02(s). Currently petitions to make special based on applicant’s health or age, participation in a PPH program, or under a pilot program, and requests for prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e) are decided by the Office of Petitions. All other petitions to make special are decided by the Quality Assurance Specialist of the TC to which the application is assigned.

708.02(a)   Accelerated Examination

All petitions to make special, except those based on applicant’s health or age or participation in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program must meet the requirements set forth in subsection I below. See MPEP § 708.02 subsection I or II (where appropriate) for the requirements for filing a petition to make special based on applicant’s health or age. For prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e), see MPEP § 708.02(b). For participation in the Patent Prosecution Highway program, see MPEP § 708.02(c).

I.   REQUIREMENTS FOR PETITIONS TO MAKE SPECIAL UNDER ACCELERATED EXAMINATION

A new application may be granted accelerated examination status under the following conditions:

  • (A) The application must be filed with a petition to make special under the accelerated examination program accompanied by either the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(h) or a statement that the claimed subject matter is directed to environmental quality, the development or conservation of energy resources, or countering terrorism. See 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2). Applicant should use form PTO/SB/28 for filing the petition.
  • (B) The application must be a non-reissue utility or design application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a).
  • (C) The application, petition, and required fees must be filed electronically using the USPTO’s electronic filing system (EFS), or EFS-Web. If the USPTO’s EFS and EFS-Web are not available to the public during the normal business hours for these systems at the time of filing the application, applicant may file the application, other papers and fees by mail accompanied by a statement that EFS and EFS-Web were not available during the normal business hours, but the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application. See subsection VIII.F. below for more information.
  • (D) At the time of filing, the application must be complete under 37 CFR 1.51 and in condition for examination. For example, the application must be filed together with the basic filing fee, search fee, examination fee, and application size fee (if applicable), and an executed inventor's oath or declaration (under 37 CFR 1.63 or 1.64) for each inventor. See subsection VIII.C. below for more information.
  • (E) The application must contain three or fewer independent claims and twenty or fewer total claims. The application must also not contain any multiple dependent claims. By filing a petition to make special under the accelerated examination program the applicant is agreeing not to separately argue the patentability of any dependent claim during any appeal in the application. Specifically, the applicant is agreeing that the dependent claims will be grouped together with and not argued separately from the independent claim from which they depend in any appeal brief filed in the application (37 CFR 41.37(c)(1)(vii)). The petition must include a statement that applicant will agree not to separately argue the patentability of any dependent claim during any appeal in the application. See form PTO/SB/28.
  • (F) The claims must be directed to a single invention. If the USPTO determines that all the claims presented are not directed to a single invention, applicant must make an election without traverse in a telephonic interview. The petition must include a statement that applicant will agree to make an election without traverse in a telephonic interview. See form PTO/SB/28.
  • (G) The applicant must be willing to have an interview (including an interview before a first Office action) to discuss the prior art and any potential rejections or objections with the intention of clarifying and possibly resolving all issues with respect to patentability at that time. The petition must include a statement that applicant will agree to have such an interview when requested by the examiner. See form PTO/SB/28.
  • (H) At the time of filing, applicant must provide a statement that a preexamination search was conducted, including an identification of the field of search by United States class and subclass and the date of the search, where applicable, and for database searches, the search logic or chemical structure or sequence used as a query, the name of the file or files searched and the database service, and the date of the search.
    • (1) This preexamination search must involve U.S. patents and patent application publications, foreign patent documents, and non-patent literature, unless the applicant can justify with reasonable certainty that no references more pertinent than those already identified are likely to be found in the eliminated source and includes such a justification with this statement.
    • (2) This preexamination search must be directed to the claimed invention and encompass all of the features of the claims, giving the claims the broadest reasonable interpretation.
    • (3) The preexamination search must also encompass the disclosed features that may be claimed. An amendment to the claims (including any new claim) that is not encompassed by the preexamination search or an updated accelerated examination support document (see item I) will be treated as not fully responsive and will not be entered. See subsection IV below for more information.
    • (4) A search report from a foreign patent office will not satisfy this preexamination search requirement unless the search report satisfies the requirements for a preexamination search.
    • (5) Any statement in support of a petition to make special must be based on a good faith belief that the preexamination search was conducted in compliance with these requirements. See 37 CFR 1.56 and 11.18.
  • (I) At the time of filing, applicant must provide in support of the petition an accelerated examination support document.
    • (1) An accelerated examination support document must include an information disclosure statement (IDS) in compliance with 37 CFR 1.98 citing each reference deemed most closely related to the subject matter of each of the claims.
    • (2) For each reference cited, the accelerated examination support document must include an identification of all the limitations in the claims that are disclosed by the reference specifying where the limitation is disclosed in the cited reference.
    • (3) The accelerated examination support document must include a detailed explanation of how each of the claims are patentable over the references cited with the particularity required by 37 CFR 1.111(b) and (c).
    • (4) The accelerated examination support document must include a concise statement of the utility of the invention as defined in each of the independent claims (unless the application is a design application).
    • (5) The accelerated examination support document must include a showing of where each limitation of the claims finds support under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or the first paragraph of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112 in the written description of the specification. If applicable, the showing must also identify:
      • (i) each means- (or step-) plus-function claim element that invokes consideration under 35 U.S.C. 112(f) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, paragraph 6; and
      • (ii) the structure, material, or acts in the specification that correspond to each means- (or step-) plus-function claim element that invokes consideration under 35 U.S.C. 112(f) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, paragraph 6. If the application claims the benefit of one or more applications under title 35, United States Code, the showing must also include where each limitation of the claims finds support under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or the first paragraph of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112 in each such application in which such support exists.
    • (6) The accelerated examination support document must identify any cited references that may be disqualified as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c).

II.   DECISION ON PETITION TO MAKE SPECIAL

Applicant will be notified of the decision by the deciding official. If the application and/or petition does not meet all the requirements set forth in subsection I above for the application to be granted special status (including a determination that the search is deemed to be insufficient), the applicant will be notified of the defects and the application will remain in the status of a new application awaiting action in its regular turn. In those instances in which the petition or accelerated examination support document is defective in one or more requirements, applicant will be given a single opportunity to perfect the petition or accelerated examination support document within a time period of one month (no extensions under 37 CFR 1.136(a)). This opportunity to perfect a petition does not apply to applications that are not in condition for examination on filing. See subsection VIII.C. below. If the document is satisfactorily corrected in a timely manner, the petition will then be granted, but the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing date of the application. Once a petition has been granted, prosecution will proceed according to the procedure set forth below.

III.   THE INITIAL ACTION ON THE APPLICATION BY THE EXAMINER

Once the application is granted special status, the application will be docketed and taken up for action expeditiously (e.g., within two weeks of the granting of special status). If it is determined that all the claims presented are not directed to a single invention, the telephone restriction practice set forth in MPEP § 812.01 will be followed. Applicant must make an election without traverse during the telephonic interview. If applicant refuses to make an election without traverse, or the examiner cannot reach the applicant after a reasonable effort, the examiner will treat the first claimed invention (the invention of claim 1) as constructively elected without traverse for examination. Continuing applications (e.g., a divisional application directed to the non-elected inventions) will not automatically be given special status based on papers filed with the petition in the parent application. Each continuing application must on its own meet all requirements for special status.

If the USPTO determines that a possible rejection or other issue must be addressed, the examiner will telephone the applicant to discuss the issue and any possible amendment or submission to resolve such issue. The USPTO will not issue an Office action (other than a notice of allowance) unless either: (A) an interview was conducted but did not result in the application being placed in condition for allowance; or (B) there is a determination that an interview is unlikely to result in the application being placed in condition for allowance. Furthermore, prior to the mailing of any Office action rejecting the claims, the USPTO will conduct a conference to review the rejections set forth in the Office action.

If an Office action other than a notice of allowance or a final Office action is mailed, the Office action will set a shortened statutory period of one month or thirty days, whichever is longer. No extensions of this shortened statutory period under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted. Failure to timely file a reply will result in abandonment of the application. See subsections V and VI for more information on post-allowance and after-final procedures.

IV.   REPLY BY APPLICANT

A reply to an Office action must be limited to the rejections, objections, and requirements made. Any amendment that attempts to: (A) add claims which would result in more than three independent claims, or more than twenty total claims, pending in the application; (B) present claims not encompassed by the preexamination search (see subsection I, item (H) above) or an updated accelerated examination support document (see next paragraph); or (C) present claims that are directed to a nonelected invention or an invention other than previously claimed in the application, will be treated as not fully responsive and will not be entered. See subsection VIII.D. below for more information.

For any amendment to the claims (including any new claim) that is not encompassed by the accelerated examination support document in subsection I, item (I) above, applicant is required to provide an updated accelerated examination support document that encompasses the amended or new claims at the time of filing the amendment. Failure to provide such updated accelerated examination support document at the time of filing the amendment will cause the amendment to be treated as not fully responsive and not to be entered. See subsection VIII.D. below for more information. Any IDS filed with an updated accelerated examination support document must also comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98.

Any reply or other papers must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the papers are not filed electronically via EFS-Web, or the reply is not fully responsive, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

V.   POST-ALLOWANCE PROCESSING

The mailing of a notice of allowance is the final disposition for purposes of the twelve-month goal for the accelerated examination program. In response to a notice of allowance, applicant must pay the issue fee within three months from the date of mailing of the Notice of Allowance and Fee(s) Due (form PTOL-85) to avoid abandonment of the application. In order for the application to be expeditiously issued as a patent, the applicant must also: (A) pay the issue fee (and any outstanding fees due) within one month from the mailing date of the form PTOL-85; and (B) not file any post-allowance papers that are not required by the USPTO (e.g., an amendment under 37 CFR 1.312 that was not requested by the USPTO).

VI.   AFTER-FINAL AND APPEAL PROCEDURES

The mailing of a final Office action or the filing of a notice of appeal, whichever is earlier, is the final disposition for purposes of the twelve-month goal for the accelerated examination program. Prior to the mailing of a final Office action, the USPTO will conduct a conference to review the rejections set forth in the final Office action (i.e., the type of conference conducted in an application on appeal when the applicant requests a pre-appeal brief conference). In order for the application to be expeditiously forwarded to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for a decision, applicant must: (A) promptly file the notice of appeal, appeal brief, and appeal fees; and (B) not request a pre-appeal brief conference. A pre-appeal brief conference would not be of value in an application under a final Office action because the examiner will have already conducted such a conference prior to mailing the final Office action. During the appeal process, the application will be treated in accordance with the normal appeal procedures (see MPEP Chapter 1200). The USPTO will continue to treat the application as special under the accelerated examination program after the decision by the PTAB.

Any after-final amendment, affidavit, or other evidence filed under 37 CFR 1.116 or 41.33 must also meet the requirements set forth in subsection IV above. If applicant files a request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114 with a submission and fee, the submission must meet the reply requirements under 37 CFR 1.111 (see 37 CFR 1.114(c)) and the requirements set forth in subsection IV above. The filing of the RCE is a final disposition for purposes of the twelve-month goal for the accelerated examination program. The application will retain its special status and remain in the accelerated examination program. Thus, the examiner will continue to examine the application in accordance with the procedures set forth in subsection III above and any subsequent replies filed by applicant must meet the requirements of subsection IV above. The goal of the accelerated examination program will then be to reach a final disposition of the application within twelve months from the filing of the RCE.

VII.   PROCEEDINGS OUTSIDE THE NORMAL EXAMINATION PROCESS

If an application becomes involved in proceedings outside the normal examination process (e.g., a secrecy order, national security review, interference, or petitions under 37 CFR1.181, 1.182, or 1.183), the USPTO will treat the application special under the accelerated examination program before and after such proceedings. During those proceedings, however, the application will not be accelerated. For example, during an interference proceeding, the application will be treated in accordance with the normal interference procedures and will not be treated under the accelerated examination program. Once any one of these proceedings is completed, the USPTO will process the application expeditiously under the accelerated examination program until it reaches final disposition, but that may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

VIII.   MORE INFORMATION

A.   Eligibility

Any non-reissue utility or design application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after August 25, 2006 is eligible for the accelerated examination program. The following types of filings are not eligible for the accelerated examination program:

  • (1) plant applications;
  • (2) reissue applications;
  • (3) applications entering the national stage from an international application after compliance with 35 U.S.C. 371;
  • (4) reexamination proceedings;
  • (5) RCEs under 37 CFR 1.114 (unless the application was previously granted special status under the program);
  • (6) petitions to make special based on applicant’s health or age (see MPEP § 708.02; and
  • (7) petitions to make special based on participation in the PPH pilot program. (see MPEP § 708.02(c)).

Rather than participating in the accelerated examination program, applicants for a design patent may participate in the expedited examination program by filing a request in compliance with the guidelines set forth in MPEP § 1504.30. See 37 CFR 1.155.

B.   Form

Applicant should use form PTO/SB/28 for filing a petition to make special, other than those based on applicant’s health or age or the PPH pilot program. The form is available on EFS-Web and on the USPTO’s Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/index.html.

C.   Conditions for Examination

The application must be in condition for examination at the time of filing. This means the application must include the following:

  • (1) Basic filing fee, search fee, and examination fee, under 37 CFR 1.16 (see MPEP § 607 subsection I);
  • (2) Application size fee under 37 CFR 1.16(s) (if the specification and drawings exceed 100 sheets of paper) (see MPEP § 607 subsection II);
  • (3) An executed inventor's oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 or 1.64 for each inventor;
  • (4) A specification (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52) containing a description (37 CFR 1.71) and claims in compliance with 37 CFR 1.75;
  • (5) A title and an abstract in compliance with 37 CFR 1.72;
  • (6) Drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84;
  • (7) Electronic submissions of sequence listings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.821(c) or (e), large tables, or computer listings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96, submitted via the USPTO’s electronic filing system (EFS) in ASCII text as part of an associated file (if applicable);
  • (8) Foreign priority claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) identified in the executed oath or declaration or an application data sheet (if applicable);
  • (9) Domestic benefit claims under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121, or 365(c) in compliance with 37 CFR 1.78 (e.g., for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, the specific reference to the prior application must be in an application data sheet and for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, the specific reference to the prior application must be submitted in the first sentence(s) of the specification or in an application data sheet, and for any benefit claim to a non-English language provisional application, the application must include a statement that (a) an English language translation, and (b) a statement that the translation is accurate, have been filed in the provisional application) (if applicable);
  • (10) English language translation under 37 CFR 1.52(d), a statement that the translation is accurate, and the processing fee under 37 CFR 1.17(i) (if the specification is in a non-English language);
  • (11) No preliminary amendments present on the filing date of the application; and
  • (12) For an application filed prior to September 16, 2012, no petition under 37 CFR 1.47 for a non-signing inventor.

Furthermore, if the application is a design application, the application must also comply with the requirements set forth in 37 CFR 1.151, 1.152, 1.153, and 1.154.

The petition to make special will be dismissed if the application omits an item or includes a paper that causes the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) to mail a notice during the formality review (e.g., a notice of incomplete application, notice to file missing parts, notice to file corrected application papers, notice of omitted items, or notice of informal application). The opportunity to perfect a petition (subsection II above) does not apply to applications that are not in condition for examination on filing.

D.   Reply Not Fully Responsive

If a reply to a non-final Office action is not fully responsive, but a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action, the examiner may provide one month or thirty days, whichever is longer, for applicant to supply the omission or a fully responsive reply. No extensions of this time period under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted. Failure to timely file the omission or a fully responsive reply will result in abandonment of the application. If the reply is not a bona fide attempt or it is a reply to a final Office action, no additional time period will be given. The time period set forth in the previous Office action will continue to run.

E.   Withdrawal From Accelerated Examination

There is no provision for “withdrawal” from special status under the accelerated examination program. An applicant may abandon the application that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program in favor of a continuing application, and the continuing application will not be given special status under the accelerated examination program unless the continuing application is filed with a petition to make special under the accelerated examination program. The filing of an RCE under 37 CFR 1.114, however, will not result in an application being withdrawn from special status under the accelerated examination program.

F.   The Twelve-Month Goal

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. The twelve-month goal is successfully achieved when one of the following final dispositions occurs:

  • (1) the mailing of a notice of allowance;
  • (2) the mailing of a final Office action;
  • (3) the filing of an RCE; or
  • (4) the abandonment of the application.

The final disposition of an application, however, may occur later than the twelve-month time frame in certain situations (e.g., an IDS citing new prior art after the mailing of a first Office action). See subsection VII above for more information on other events that may cause examination to extend beyond this twelve-month time frame. In any event, however, this twelve-month time frame is simply a goal. Any failure to meet the twelve-month goal or other issues relating to this twelve-month goal are neither petitionable nor appealable matters.

IX.   FORM PARAGRAPHS

The following form paragraphs may be used for the accelerated examination program:

¶ 7.126.AE    Conclusion of Requirement Mailed Without Any Other Office Action – Application Under Accelerated Examination

This requirement is subject to the provisions of 37 CFR 1.134, 1.135 and 1.136 and has a shortened statutory period of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS, whichever is longer. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.105, and should appear at the conclusion of any requirement for information mailed without any other Office action. If the requirement for information is mailed with an Office action, use form paragraph 7.125 instead.
  • 2. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 3. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 7.42.08.AE    Request for Continued Examination With Submission Filed Under 37 CFR 1.114 Which Is Not Fully Responsive - Application Under Accelerated Examination

Receipt is acknowledged of a request for continued examination under 37 CFR 1.114, including the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(e) and a submission, filed on [1]. The submission, however, is not fully responsive to the prior Office action because [2]. Since the submission appears to be a bona fide attempt to provide a complete reply to the prior Office action, applicant is given a shortened statutory period of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS from the mailing date of this letter, whichever is longer, to submit a complete reply. This shortened statutory period for reply supersedes the time period set in the prior Office action. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph to acknowledge an RCE filed with the fee and a submission where the submission is not fully responsive to the prior Office action. This form paragraph may be used for any RCE filed with a submission which is not fully responsive, i.e., an RCE filed after final rejection, after allowance, after an Office action under Ex parte Quayle, 25 USPQ 74, 453 O.G. 213 (Comm’r Pat. 1935), or after appeal.
  • 2. In bracket 2, identify the reasons why the examiner considers the submission not to be fully responsive.
  • 3. To be eligible for continued examination under 37 CFR 1.114, the application must be a utility or plant application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after June 8, 1995, or an international application filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 on or after June 8, 1995. The RCE must be filed on or after May 29, 2000.
  • 4. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 5. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 7.51.AE    Quayle Action - Application Under Accelerated Examination

This application is in condition for allowance except for the following formal matters: [1].

Prosecution on the merits is closed in accordance with the practice under Ex parte Quayle , 25 USPQ 74, 453 O.G. 213 (Comm’r Pat. 1935).

Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, a shortened statutory period for reply to this action is set to expire ONE (1) MONTHor THIRTY (30) DAYS, whichever is longer, from the mailing date of this letter. NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Explain the formal matters which must be corrected in bracket 1.
  • 2. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 3. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 7.70.AE     Updated Accelerated Examination Support Document Required for Claim Amendments Not Encompassed by Previous Accelerated Examination Support Document(s) – Application Under Accelerated Examination

Applicant is reminded that for any amendments to the claims (including any new claim) that is not encompassed by the preexamination search and accelerated examination support documents previously filed, applicant is required to provide updated preexamination search and accelerated examination support documents that encompass the amended or new claims at the time of filing the amendment.  Failure to provide such updated preexamination search and accelerated examination support documents at the time of filing the amendment will cause the amendment to be treated as not fully responsive and not to be entered.  See MPEP § 708.02(a) subsection VIII.D. for more information.

If the reply is not fully responsive, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1.        This form paragraph and form paragraph  7.71.AE must be included in every Office action, other than a notice of allowance, in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 2.         This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway Program (pilot and permanent).

¶ 7.71.AE     Use Of Proper Document and Fee Codes When Filing A Reply Electronically Via EFS-Web – Application Under Accelerated Examination

Any reply or other papers must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered.  If the papers are not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Any reply to this communication filed via EFS-Web must include a document that is filed using the document description of “Accelerated Exam - Transmittal amendment/reply.”  Applicant is reminded to use proper indexing for documents to avoid any delay in processing of follow on papers.  Currently document indexing is not automated in EFS-Web and applicant must select a particular document description for each attached file.  An incorrect document description for a particular file may potentially delay processing of the application.  A complete listing of all document codes currently supported in EFS-Web is available at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/portal/efs/efsweb_document_descriptions.xls.

Any payment of fees via EFS-Web must be accompanied by selection of a proper fee code.  An improper fee code may potentially delay processing of the application.  Instructions on payment of fees via EFS-Web are available at  http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/portal/efs/quick-start.pdf.

Examiner Note:

  • 1.        This form paragraph and form paragraph  7.70.AE must be included in every Office action, other than a notice of allowance, in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 2.         This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway Program (pilot and permanent).

¶ 7.84.AE    Amendment Is Non-Responsive to Interview – Application Under Accelerated Examination

The reply filed on [1] is not fully responsive to the prior Office action because it fails to include a complete or accurate record of the substance of the [2] interview. [3] Since the above-mentioned reply appears to be bona fide, applicant is given a TIME PERIOD of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS from the mailing date of this notice, whichever is longer, within which to supply the omission or correction in order to avoid abandonment. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of this time period under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 2, insert the date of the interview.
  • 2. In bracket 3, explain the deficiencies.
  • 3. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 4. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 7.84.01.AE    Paper Is Unsigned – Application Under Accelerated Examination

The proposed reply filed on [1] has not been entered because it is unsigned. Since the above-mentioned reply appears to be bona fide, applicant is given a TIME PERIOD of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS from the mailing date of this notice, whichever is longer, within which to supply the omission or correction in order to avoid abandonment. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of this time period under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Examiner should first try to contact applicant by telephone and ask for a properly signed reply or ratification of the reply. If attempts to contact applicant are unsuccessful, examiner may use this form paragraph in a letter requiring a properly signed reply or ratification if the reply is to a non-final Office action.
  • 2. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 3. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 7.95.AE    Bona Fide, Non-Responsive Amendments – Application Under Accelerated Examination

The reply filed on [1] is not fully responsive to the prior Office action because of the following omission(s) or matter(s): [2]. See 37 CFR 1.111. Since the above-mentioned reply appears to be bona fide, applicant is given a TIME PERIOD of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS from the mailing date of this notice, whichever is longer, within which to supply the omission or correction in order to avoid abandonment. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This practice does not apply where there has been a deliberate omission of some necessary part of a complete reply, or where the application is subject to a final Office action. Under such cases, the examiner has no authority to grant an extension if the period for reply has expired. See form paragraph 7.91.
  • 2. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 3. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program

¶ 8.26.AE    Canceled Elected Claims, Non-Responsive – Application Under Accelerated Examination

The amendment filed on [1] canceling all claims drawn to the elected invention and presenting only claims drawn to a non-elected invention is non-responsive (MPEP § 821.03). The remaining claims are not readable on the elected invention because [2].

Since the above-mentioned amendment appears to be a bona fide attempt to reply, applicant is given a TIME PERIOD of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS, whichever is longer, from the mailing date of this notice within which to supply the omission or correction in order to avoid abandonment. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 2. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 19.02.AE    Requirement for Information – Application Under Accelerated Examination

The protest under 37 CFR 1.291 filed on [1] has been considered. In order to reach a full and proper consideration of the issues raised therein, it is necessary to obtain additional information from applicant regarding these issues. In particular [2]. The failure to reply to this requirement for information within ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS, whichever is longer, of the mailing date of this requirement will result in abandonment of the application. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. While the examiner normally should not need further information from applicant, this form paragraph may be used to request specific additional information from the applicant.
  • 2. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 3. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 24.01.AE    Cover Letter for Use With Notice To Comply With Sequence Rules – Application Under Accelerated Examination

This application contains sequence disclosures that are encompassed by the definitions for nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences set forth in 37 CFR 1.821(a)(1) and (a)(2). However, this application fails to comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.821 through 1.825 for the reason(s) set forth below or on the attached Notice To Comply With Requirements For Patent Applications Containing Nucleotide Sequence And/Or Amino Acid Sequence Disclosures. [1]

Applicant is given ONE (1) MONTH, or THIRTY (30) DAYS, whichever is longer, from the mailing date of this letter within which to comply with the sequence rules, 37 CFR 1.821 - 1.825. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in ABANDONMENT of the application under 37 CFR 1.821(g). Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

Direct the reply to the undersigned. Applicant is requested to return a copy of the attached Notice To Comply with the reply.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph only for the initial communication to the applicant. Use either form paragraph 24.03 or 24.04 for subsequent communications.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert how the application fails to comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.821 through 1.825.
  • 3. Conclude action with appropriate form paragraph(s) 7.100-7.102.
  • 4. When mailing the Office action, attach a Notice To Comply With Requirements for Patent Applications Containing Nucleotide And/Or Amino Acid Sequence Disclosures, along with a marked-up copy of the Raw Sequence Listing, if any.
  • 5. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 6. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 24.02.AE    Cover Letter for Use with CRF Problem Report – Application Under Accelerated Examination

This application contains sequence disclosures that are encompassed by the definitions for nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences set forth in 37 CFR 1.821(a)(1) and (a)(2). A computer readable form (CRF) of the sequence listing was submitted. However, the CRF could not be processed by the Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) for the reason(s) set forth in the CRF Problem Report.

Applicant is given ONE (1) MONTH, or THIRTY (30) DAYS, whichever is longer, from the mailing date of this letter within which to comply with the sequence rules, 37 CFR 1.821 - 1.825. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in ABANDONMENT of the application under 37 CFR 1.821(g). Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

Direct the reply to the undersigned. Applicant is requested to return a copy of the CRF Problem Report with the reply.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph only for the initial communication to the applicant. Use either form paragraph 24.03 or 24.04 for subsequent communications.
  • 2. Conclude action with appropriate form paragraph(s) 7.100-7.102.
  • 3. When mailing the Office action, include the CRF Problem Report.
  • 4. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 5. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

¶ 24.03.AE    Compact Disc/CRF Submission Is Not Fully Responsive, Bona Fide Attempt – Application Under Accelerated Examination

The reply filed [1] is not fully responsive to the Office communication mailed [2] for the reason(s) set forth below or on the attached Notice To Comply With The Sequence Rules or CRF Problem Report.

Since the above-mentioned reply appears to be bona fide, applicant is given a TIME PERIOD of ONE (1) MONTH or THIRTY (30) DAYS from the mailing date of this notice, whichever is longer, within which to supply the omission or correction in order to avoid abandonment. Since this application has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program, NO extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be permitted.

The objective of the accelerated examination program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months from the filing date of the application. Any reply must be filed electronically via EFS-Web so that the papers will be expeditiously processed and considered. If the reply is not filed electronically via EFS-Web, the final disposition of the application may occur later than twelve months from the filing of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph may be used whether or not the six-month period for reply has expired. It is intended for use whenever a bona fide reply has been submitted. This practice does not apply where there has been a deliberate omission of some necessary part of a complete reply or where the reason the reply is incomplete cannot be characterized as an apparent oversight or apparent inadvertence. Under such cases the examiner has no authority to grant an extension if the six-month period for reply has expired. Use form paragraph 24.04 under such circumstances.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the date of the reply and in bracket 2, insert the mail date of the communication requiring compliance.
  • 3. When mailing the Office action, attach a Notice To Comply With Requirements For Patent Applications Containing Nucleotide Sequence And/Or Amino Acid Sequence Disclosures, if any, along with a marked-up copy of the Raw Sequence Listing, or CRF Diskette Problem Report.
  • 4. See 37 CFR 1.135(c), 1.821(g); MPEP §§ 710.02(c), 711.02(a), 714.02 and 714.03.
  • 5. This form paragraph may only be used in an application filed on or after August 25, 2006, that has been granted special status under the accelerated examination program or other provisions under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(2) or (d).
  • 6. This form paragraph should not be used for an application that has been granted special status under 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1) on the basis of applicant’s health or age, or the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.

708.02(b)   Prioritized Examination

37 C.F.R. 1.102   Advancement of examination.

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  • (e) A request for prioritized examination under this paragraph must comply with the requirements of this paragraph and be accompanied by the prioritized examination fee set forth in § 1.17(c), the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i), and if not already paid, the publication fee set forth in § 1.18(d). An application for which prioritized examination has been requested may not contain or be amended to contain more than four independent claims, more than thirty total claims, or any multiple dependent claim. Prioritized examination under this paragraph will not be accorded to international applications that have not entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, design applications, reissue applications, provisional applications, or reexamination proceedings. A request for prioritized examination must also comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) or paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
    • (1) A request for prioritized examination may be filed with an original utility or plant nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) that is complete as defined by § 1.51(b), with any fees due under § 1.16 paid on filing. If the application is a utility application, it must be filed via the Office's electronic filing system. The request for prioritized examination in compliance with this paragraph must be present upon filing of the application.
    • (2) A request for prioritized examination may be filed with or after a request for continued examination in compliance with § 1.114. If the application is a utility application, the request must be filed via the Office’s electronic filing system. The request must be filed before the mailing of the first Office action after the filing of the request for continued examination under § 1.114. Only a single such request for prioritized examination under this paragraph may be granted in an application.

Section 11(h) of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act provides for prioritized examination whereby applicants may request prioritized examination at the time of filing of an application upon payment of appropriate fees and compliance with certain requirements.

Under prioritized examination, an application will be accorded special status until a final disposition is reached in the application. The goal for handling applications under prioritized examination is to on average provide a final disposition within twelve months of prioritized status being granted. Prioritized examination is available at the time of filing an original utility or plant application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), as set forth in 37 CFR 1.102(e)(1). This is referred to as "Track I" prioritized examination. An "original" application includes a continuing application (i.e., a continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application) but does not include reissue applications. In addition, a single request for prioritized examination may be granted for a request for continued examination (RCE) in a plant or utility application, including an application that has entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, as set forth in 37 CFR 1.102(e)(2). This type of prioritized examination is referred to as "prioritized examination for requests for continued examination" (PE-RCE). The Office maintains a "Quick Start Guide" that illustrates how to file an electronic request for prioritized examination at http://www.uspto.gov/ patents/init_events/track-1-quickstart-guide.pdf.

To maximize the benefit of prioritized examination, applicants should consider one or more of the following: (A) acquiring a good knowledge of the state of the prior art to be able to file the application with a clear specification having a complete schedule of claims from the broadest to which the applicant believes he is entitled in view of the prior art to the narrowest which the applicant is willing to accept; (B) submitting an application in condition for examination; (C) filing replies that are completely responsive to an Office action and within the shortened statutory period for reply set in the Office action; and (D) being prepared to conduct interviews with the examiner. The phrase “in condition for examination” in this context means the same as it does with respect to the current accelerated examination program, which is discussed in MPEP § 708.02(a), subsection VIII.C.

The Office intends to monitor the prioritized examination program carefully. As the Office gains experience with prioritized examination as a result of the initial implementation, it may reevaluate the annual numerical cap of 10,000 granted prioritized examination requests. The Office may also consider whether there is a need to limit the number of requests for prioritized examination that may be filed in each Technology Center or by any given applicant. Statistical findings about prioritized examination, including statistics concerning the Office’s ability to meet its stated goals for the program are available to the public on the Office’s Internet Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/Track_One.jsp.

I.   REQUIREMENTS FOR REQUESTING PRIORITIZED EXAMINATION

The requirements for requesting prioritized examination are set forth below. A request must meet the general requirements specified in subsection I.A. below, and also meet the specific requirements for either subsection I.B. (for a newly filed application) or subsection I.C. (for a request for continued examination).

A.   General Requirements

  • (A) The application must be a utility or plant nonprovisional application, including a continuing application (i.e., a continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application). The procedure for prioritized examination does not apply to design applications, reissue applications, provisional applications, or reexamination proceedings. The procedure for prioritized examination does not apply to international applications that have entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, except that such an application may undergo prioritized examination if an RCE is filed (see I.C. below). A continuing application will not automatically be given prioritized examination status based on a request filed in the parent application; each application (including each continuing application) must, on its own, meet all requirements for prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e). A utility or plant nonprovisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) may claim priority to a foreign application under 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) or (f) and remain eligible for prioritized examination.
  • (B) Upon filing the request for prioritized examination, the following fees must be paid for the application:
    • (1) the prioritized examination fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(c),
    • (2) the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i)(1),
    • (3) the publication fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.18(d),
    • (4) the basic filing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(a), or for a plant application, 37 CFR 1.16(c),
    • (5) the search fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(k), or for a plant application, 37 CFR 1.16(m),
    • (6) the examination fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(o),
    • (7) if applicable, any excess claims fees due because the number of independent claims exceeds three, as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(h), and any excess claim fee due because the number of claims exceeds twenty, as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(i), and
    • (8) if applicable, any application size fee due because the specification and drawings exceed 100 sheets of paper, as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(s).

    Small entity and micro entity fee reductions are available for many of the above fees; see the current fees at www.uspto.gov/curr_fees. If any fee is unpaid at the time of filing of the application, the request for prioritized examination will be dismissed. However, if an explicit authorization to charge any additional required fees has been provided in the papers accompanying the application and the request, the fees will be charged in accordance with the authorization, and the request will not be dismissed for nonpayment of fees.

  • (C) The application must contain, or be amended to contain, no more than four independent claims and no more than thirty total claims. In addition, the application must not contain any multiple dependent claims. If an amendment is filed in an application that has been granted prioritized examination that results in more than four independent claims or thirty total claims, or a multiple dependent claim, then prioritized examination will be terminated.
  • (D) The request for prioritized examination must be filed with the application in compliance with 37 CFR 1.102(e), accompanied by the prioritized examination fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(c), the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i)(1), and the publication fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.18(d). Applicants are advised to use the certification and request form PTO/SB/424 (or PTO/AIA/424, for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012) which is available on EFS-Web. If any item required for prioritized examination is inadvertently omitted when the application is filed, the missing item(s) will be considered to have been filed with the request under 37 CFR 1.102(e) so long as they are submitted on the same day the application was filed.
  • (E) The request for prioritized examination may be accepted if the requirements under 37 CFR 1.102(e) are satisfied and the limit for the number of requests for the year has not been reached. The number of granted requests for prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e) is limited to a maximum of 10,000 per fiscal year, although the Office may choose to revise that cap in the future. The Office posts statistics, including the number of granted prioritized examination requests, on its Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/patents.jsp. In addition, the Office will post a message in EFS-Web if/when the number of granted requests is close to the limit. If the limit is reached, the Office will turn off the ability to file a request for prioritized examination in EFS-Web..
  • (F) Additional requirements must be met depending on whether prioritized examination is requested upon filing of a new application (Track I), see subsection I.B. or incident to filing a request for continued examination (PE-RCE), see subsection I.C.

It is strongly recommended that applicants use the Office’s certification and request form PTO/SB/424 to request prioritized examination, but the form is not required. The form is available on EFS-Web and on the Office’s Internet Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/forms/index.jsp. Failure to use form PTO/SB/424 could result in the Office not recognizing the request or delays in processing the request. If applicant decides to use an applicant-created form for requesting prioritized examination, applicant’s form should be an equivalent to the Office’s form.

B.   Prioritized Examination for Application Filings under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) (Track I)

A newly filed patent application may be granted Track I prioritized examination status if it meets the general conditions in subsection I.A. above, and the additional following conditions:

  • (A) The application must be a utility or plant nonprovisional application, including a continuing application (i.e., a continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application), filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after September 26, 2011. The application must be filed via the Office’s electronic filing system (EFS-Web) if it is a utility application. Plant applications must be filed in paper. Due to the need to limit the number of applications in the prioritized examination program in its initial stages, applications entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 are not eligible at the time of entry; see subsection I.C. below for prioritized examination of national stage entries under 35 U.S.C. 371 in which as RCE has been filed. However, an applicant who has filed an international application may participate in the prioritized examination program by filing a by-pass continuation; i.e., a new application filed in the United States under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) that claims the benefit of the earlier international application under 35 U.S.C. 365(c), rather than entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. In such a case, it is not necessary that the earlier international application have been filed in English in order to request prioritized examination of the 111(a) application; however, a translation is required in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(b)(1).
  • (B) The application must be complete under 37 CFR 1.51(b) with any excess claims fees paid on filing. Thus, the application must be filed with an executed inventor’s oath or declaration (under 37 CFR 1.63 and 1.64) for each inventor, the basic filing fee, the search fee, the examination fee, any excess claims fees, and any application size fee. The provisions of 37 CFR 1.53(f)(3) which permit submission of the inventor’s oath or declaration to be postponed until the application is otherwise in condition for allowance, in an application filed on or after September 16, 2012, do not apply when submitting a request for prioritized examination.
  • (C) The application must contain no more than four independent claims and no more than thirty total claims. In addition, the application must not contain any multiple dependent claims. While it is possible to file a preliminary amendment on filing of an application to reduce the number of claims to no more than four independent claims and thirty total claims, and to eliminate any multiple dependent claims, the Office strongly encourages applicants to file applications without any preliminary amendments.
  • (D) The request for prioritized examination and any required fees must be submitted upon filing. If any fee is unpaid at the time of filing the application, the request for prioritized examination will be dismissed. However, if an explicit authorization to charge any additional required fees has been provided in the papers accompanying the application and the request, the fees will be charged in accordance with the authorization, and the request will not be dismissed for nonpayment of fees.

A nonpublication request under 35 U.S.C. 122(b)(2)(B)(i) may be submitted together with a request for prioritized examination. However, the publication fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.18(d) still must be paid upon request for prioritized examination. If the application is not published, a refund of the publication fee may be requested as provided in subsection III. below and in MPEP § 1126.

Color drawings may be filed with new nonprovisional utility patent applications under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) and in U.S. national stage applications under 35 U.S.C. 371 applications through EFS-Web; see MPEP § 502.05, subsection VIII. See also the EFS-Web legal framework at 74 Fed. Reg. 55200 (October 27, 2009). A petition is still required for entry of color drawings; see MPEP § 608.02 subsection VIII.

If applicant discovers that a required item has been inadvertently omitted from the application filing, a follow-on EFS-Web submission may be filed, but only if the follow-on EFS-Web submission is submitted on the same day that the utility application and the prioritized examination request form are filed. For example, if an inventor’s oath or declaration or the filing fees are inadvertently omitted when the application is filed via EFS-Web, then applicant may submit the inventor’s oath or declaration or the filing fees as a follow-on submission directly into the application on the same day as the filing date of the application. Applicants are also reminded that only registered users of EFS-Web can submit follow-on documents via EFS-Web and that follow-on documents are documents filed after the initial submission of the application. Thus, applicant would need to be a registered user of EFS-Web to submit such a follow-on document on the same day the application was filed. See also MPEP § 502.05, subsection III. D. for examples describing implications raised when applicant inadvertently omits an item when filing an application electronically via EFS-Web.

Requests for prioritized examination will be acted upon once the application has met all formal requirements such that it is ready for examination. A description of what it means for an application to be in condition for examination is provided at MPEP § 708.02(a) , subsection VIII.C. Any pre-examination notice from the Office of Patent Application Processing will delay a decision on the request for prioritized examination until after applicant has filed a complete and timely reply to the pre-examination notice.

A proper request for prioritized examination requires that the application is complete as set forth in 37 CFR 1.51(b). Thus, the application must include a specification as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112 including claim(s), any required drawings, an executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63, and the required fees. If the application is not complete on filing as set forth in 37 CFR 1.51(b), then the request will be dismissed. Applicants may, however, receive a notice regarding informalities in their application (e.g., a notice to file corrected application papers because the application papers are not in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52) that results in the application not being in condition for examination. These other informalities or deficiencies in the application will delay a decision on the request for prioritized examination, as noted above. However, the request for prioritized examination may still be granted if the application is complete as set forth in 37 CFR 1.51(b).

Any request for an extension of time, including an extension of time for the purpose of responding to a pre-examination notice (e.g., Notice to File Missing Parts), will cause the application to be ineligible for further treatment under the prioritized examination program. A request for an extension of time prior to the grant of prioritized examination status will prevent such status from being granted.

If the request for prioritized examination is dismissed, applicant can file a petition under 37 CFR 1.181 if applicant believes that a decision dismissing the request for prioritized examination is not proper. Applicant should review the reason(s) stated in the decision dismissing the request and make a determination that an error was made by the Office in not granting the request before filing such a petition under 37 CFR 1.181. Applicant may not refile a request for Track 1 prioritized examination in order to correct a deficiency in the request because a proper request for Track I prioritized examination (i.e., for prioritized examination of a newly-filed utility or plant application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) and not for an RCE) requires that the request be included upon filing.

C.   Prioritized Examination of an Application for a Request for Continued Examination (PE-RCE)

A pending patent application in which a request for continued examination has been filed may be granted PE-RCE prioritized examination status under the following conditions:

  • (A) The application must be a non-reissue utility or plant nonprovisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), or that has entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.
  • (B) The publication fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.18(d) must be paid for the application, either previously or with the request for prioritized examination.
  • (C) The PE-RCE request may be filed concurrently with, or subsequently to, the filing of a request for continued examination (RCE). However, the PE-RCE request must be filed before the mailing of the first Office action after the filing of the RCE.
  • (D) Only a single such request for prioritized examination for a request for continued examination may be granted in an application. The prioritized examination program permits a single request to be granted under 37 CFR 1.102(e)(1) upon filing a new application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), and a single request to be granted under 37 CFR 1.102(e)(2) upon filing a request for continued examination under 37 CFR 1.114.

The conditions for filing an RCE are set forth in 37 CFR 1.114. Prosecution must be closed; i.e., the application is under appeal, the last Office action is a final action (37 CFR 1.113), a notice of allowance has been issued (37 CFR 1.311), or there has been an action that otherwise closes prosecution in the application. Any request for prioritized examination for a request for continued examination is premised on the existence of a properly filed RCE. Prioritized examination will not be granted in an application where the RCE does not meet the requirements of 37 CFR 1.114.

Applicant may file a petition under 37 CFR 1.181 if applicant believes a decision dismissing a PE-RCE request is not proper. Applicant should review the reason(s) stated in the decision dismissing the PE-RCE request and make a determination that an error was made by the Office in not granting the request before filing such a petition under 37 CFR 1.181. Alternately, applicant may file a new PE-RCE request for that same RCE. The new PE-RCE request must include the proper fees and be timely; i.e., it must be filed prior to the mailing of a first Office action after the filing of the RCE.

II.   PROSECUTION OF AN APPLICATION UNDER PRIORITIZED EXAMINATION

The time periods set for reply in Office actions for applications undergoing prioritized examination will be the same as set forth in MPEP § 710.02(b). This is a distinction between prioritized examination and the accelerated examination program, where the time period for reply to Office actions is one month (or at least thirty days) with no extensions under 37 CFR 1.136(a) being permitted (see MPEP § 708.02(a)). Where, however, an applicant files a petition for an extension of time to file a reply or files a request for suspension of action, the petition or request will be acted upon, but the prioritized examination of the application will be terminated. In addition, filing an amendment to the application which results in more than four independent claims, more than thirty total claims, or a multiple dependent claim will terminate the prioritized examination. Upon termination of prioritized examination, the application will be removed from the examiner’s special docket and placed on the examiner’s regular docket in accordance with its stage of prosecution.

The goal of the Office is to provide a final disposition within twelve months, on average, of the date that prioritized status was granted. The final disposition for the twelve-month goal means that within twelve months from the date prioritized status has been granted that one of the following occur: (A) Mailing of a notice of allowance; (B) mailing of a final Office action; (C) filing of a notice of appeal; (D) completion of examination as defined in 37 CFR 41.102; (E) filing of a request for continued examination; or (F) abandonment of the application. An application under prioritized examination, however, would not be accorded special status throughout its entire course of appeal or interference before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), or after the filing of a request for continued examination. As noted above, the submission of an amendment resulting in more than four independent claims or more than thirty total claims is not prohibited, but simply terminates the prioritized examination. Thus, upon mailing of a final rejection (at which point prioritized examination is terminated), applicants may amend the claims to place them in independent form where dependent claims were found allowable, or add new claims, subject only to the limitations applicable to any application under final rejection. See 37 CFR 1.116. Similarly, upon mailing of a notice of allowance, applicants may submit amendments to the claims, again subject only to the limitations applicable to any application that has been allowed. See 37 CFR 1.312. A patent that issues will not contain any indication on its face that it was processed via prioritized examination.

III.   REFUND OF FEES

If a request for prioritized examination is dismissed, the prioritized examination fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(c) will be refunded. This fee will be refunded automatically (if paid) without the need for applicant to request such a refund. The processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i) will be retained to cover the cost of processing the request. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.26, the application fees, including the basic filing fee, search fee, examination fee, and any required application size or excess claim fees cannot be refunded. Applicant may, however, request a refund of the search fee and any excess claims fees by filing a petition for express abandonment of the application in accordance with 37 CFR 1.138(d). Furthermore, applicant may request a refund of the publication fee in accordance with MPEP § 1126 if the application is not published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b).

As the termination of prioritized examination does not cause the prioritized examination fee to have been paid by mistake or in an amount in excess of that required, the termination of prioritized examination will not entitle the applicant to a refund of the prioritized examination fee. See 35 U.S.C. 42(d) and 37 CFR 1.26(a).

708.02(c)   Patent Prosecution Highway Program

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) speeds up the examination process for corresponding applications filed in participating countries by allowing examiners to reuse search and examination results. The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) speeds up the examination process for corresponding applications filed in participating countries by allowing examiners to reuse search and examination results. examination will not entitle the applicant to a refund of tcations filed in the OSF. The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) speeds up the examination process for corresponding applications filed in The PPH will leverage fast-track examination procedures already available in the OSF to allow applicants to obtain patents faster and more efficiently. For example, the OSF can use the OFF’s work products – such as allowances or search reports – to streamline patent processing.

The USPTO has PPH arrangements with over a dozen intellectual property offices. See http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/pph/index.jsp for details and forms to request participation in, and to petition to make an application special under, the PPH program.

708.03   Examiner Tenders Resignation [R-11.2013]

Whenever an examiner tenders his or her resignation, the supervisory patent examiner should see that the remaining time as far as possible is used in winding up prosecution in those applications with complex issues or involved records that the examiner is already familiar with (e.g., applications with RCEs and continuation applications) and getting as many of his or her amended cases as possible ready for final disposition..

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