The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that the After-Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) and Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot programs have been extended to September 30, 2018. AFCP 2.0 and QPIDS are programs intended to further the goals of compact prosecution and foster increased collaboration between examiners and stakeholders.
The AFCP 2.0 program provides additional time for examiners to search and consider responses after a final rejection, and also allows examiners to use the additional time to schedule and conduct an interview to discuss the results of their search with the applicants. The QPIDS pilot program eliminates the requirement that a request for continued examination (RCE) be processed with an information disclosure statement (IDS) that is filed after payment of the issue fee in order for the IDS to be considered by the examiner.
The extension of AFCP 2.0 and QPIDS likely indicates that stakeholders and examiners are making sufficient use of these programs to warrant another year of the pilots. The additional time provided under AFCP 2.0 helps both examiners and applicants by setting up the possibility of an interview to discuss ways to place the application in condition for allowance. QPIDS is clearly advantageous to applicants because, assuming that the examiner determines that no new item of information in the IDS necessitates reopening prosecution, applicants save the complete cost of an RCE and the application continues to allowance.