by Karin Cao (New York)

Natter & Associates successfully overcame claim rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 112 (indefiniteness) and 35 U.S.C. § 103 (obviousness), and obtained a utility patent directed to a “Method Of Projecting Virtual Reality Imagery For Augmenting Real World Objects And Surfaces” (Patent no. 11,127,212) by taking advantage of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0). 

The AFCP 2.0 was designed to increase communication and collaboration between patent examiners, patent applicants, and their attorneys. In this case, receipt of a Final Office Action prompted a telephonic interview with the assigned Examiner. Normally, one interview after final rejection is permitted. Additionally, examiners have different styles pertaining to the interviewing process. Generally, to obtain a telephonic interview, Applicant submits an Automated Interview Request Form providing the subject of the interview and availability. The Examiner may also request that an agenda be sent to them prior to the interview. The agenda is essentially an outline of the points that will be brought up during the interview. In this case, the Examiner brought up the possibility of making amendments to the claims by filing a Request for Consideration under AFCP 2.0, such request under AFCP 2.0 does not incur an official government filing fee.

Upon submission of a compliant Request for Consideration under AFCP 2.0, the Examiner will review the response under 37 CFR 1.116 to determine if additional search and consideration are necessitated by the amendment. If such search cannot be completed within the three (3) hours allotted under AFCP 2.0, the Examiner will mail an advisory action. Here, the search uncovered new references and, following a second telephonic interview with the Examiner, these references were overcome by amendments filed with a Request for Continued Examination. If Examiner finds that the amendment does not necessitate additional search and consideration, or if such search and consideration can be completed within the allotted time, the Examiner will consider whether the amendment places the application in condition for allowance. If determined that the amendment does not place the application in condition for allowance, the Examiner will contact the applicant and request an interview.

AFCP 2.0 is being extended through September 30, 2022. Although the program was designed to facilitate communication with the patent examiner, applicants always have the option to request an interview with the examiner, in accordance with MPEP § 713, regardless of whether they are utilizing AFCP 2.0.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Natter & Associates, P.C., nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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