The USPTO is looking for feedback from the public to help us reduce our backlog of patent applications associated with a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). An RCE is a request by an applicant to reopen prosecution of the patent application after prosecution of the application is closed. There is currently a backlog of over 90,000 applications related to RCEs, and this backlog diverts our resources from examination of new applications.
Input from the public to help us to better understand the many reasons why an RCE is filed allows us to design new programs and initiatives aimed at reducing the need for an RCE. Examples of initiatives we've already implemented to reduce RCEs include the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot program and the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP).
How to Help
The USPTO has developed a list of 11 questions that facilitate an understanding of filing strategies related to RCEs, and has gathered a variety of statistics related to RCEs. Your answers to some or all of these questions, and/or your feedback on the statistics, will help inform the new programs or initiatives we design. Feedback can be provided through email or IdeaScale®.
Your comments or answers to the questions related to RCE practice can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments and answers received in response to the Federal Register notice (77 Fed. Reg. 78230) that was issued to kick off this initiative can be viewed here.
IdeaScale is a Web-based collaboration tool allowing you to post comments on RCE practice, and view and respond to comments made by others.
The RCE Outreach effort included a series of events to share ideas, feedback, experiences, and insights on RCE related prosecution strategies. Each event consisted of a roundtable discussion and a focus session. Roundtable discussion topics were generally directed to root causes for RCE filings, the role of RCE practice in patent prosecution, prosecution strategies to reduce the need for RCE filings and recommendations for changes in USPTO procedures to reduce the need for RCE filings. Roundtable participants had the opportunity to speak about these or related topics. Focus session discussion was directed to answering a specific series of questions. The following events were held:
- February 20 - Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, Calif.
- February 26 - Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, Dallas, Texas
The following presentations were presented at the Dallas event:
- February 28 - New York University School of Law, New York, N.Y.
The following presentation was presented at the New York event:
- March 8 - Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Ill.
The following presentation was made at the Chicago event:
- April 3 - USPTO Headquarters, Alexandria, VA
The following presentations were made at the Alexandria event:
The USPTO's Invitation to Participate in Roundtable and Focus Sessions on RCE Practice provided further information on the above events.