As discussed in the Director’s blog, this pilot program is being discontinued. The last day for applicants to file requests to participate in the program is January 15, 2021. While interviews continue to be an effective vehicle for discussing issues with applicants, the program itself was not sufficiently utilized by our applicants to justify its continuation. Any new, compliant requests to join this pilot program received on or before January 15, 2021, will continue to be granted and the applications will be examined in accordance with the provisions of the program. Also, if you have any applications which are already included in this program, they will continue to be treated under the processes of the program.
Full First Action Interview Pilot Program
Under the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program, an applicant is entitled to a first action interview, upon request, prior to the first Office action on the merits. The examiner will conduct a prior art search and provide applicant with a condensed pre-interview communication citing relevant prior art and identifying proposed rejections or objections. Within 30 days of receipt, applicant schedules an interview and submits proposed amendments and/or arguments. At the interview, the relevant prior art, proposed rejections, amendments and arguments will be discussed. If agreement is not reached, the applicant will receive a first action interview Office action that includes an interview summary that constitutes a first Office action on the merits under 35 USC 132.
The Full First Action Interview Pilot Program remains open and currently available to all utility applications in all technology areas.
Full First Action Interview Pilot Program Federal Register Notices
The initial Full First Action Interview Pilot Program notice was signed on May 6, 2011.
A subsequent notice announcing the extension of the pilot program until August 16, 2012, and requesting comments on the pilot program was signed on June 29, 2012.
An additional notice announcing the extension of the pilot program until November 16, 2012, was signed on August 13, 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions [PDF] [Last updated May 11, 2011]
Changes Between the Enhanced and Full Pilot Programs
The Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program was limited by technology area and filing date. The Full First Action Interview Pilot Program is open to all technology areas and filing dates.
The procedure for the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program remains unchanged from, and offers the same benefits and flexibilities to the participants as, the procedure used during the Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program.
Applicant's request to participate in the program must be filed (i) on or after April 1, 2011, and (ii) at least one day before a first Office action on the merits of the application appears in the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system. Please see the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program notice for further details.
The request to enter the Pilot Program must be made via EFS-Web which can be accessed at: http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/index.html
EFS-Web requires an applicant to be a REGISTERED eFILER. Registered eFILERs must have an assigned Customer Number and Digital Certificate. Obtaining a Customer Number and Digital Certificate can be initiated at: http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/portal/register.htm
Tips to Consider When Preparing for Interview
Interview Talking Points [PDF]
RE: EFS-Web or PAIR system - contact the Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197.
RE: a specific application - a list of corresponding Technology Center (TC) representatives is available here [PDF].
RE: the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program notice - contact Joseph Weiss ((571) 272-7759), Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, or e-mail email@example.com.