USPTO Announces New Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program, which is an expansion of the prior Enhanced First Action Interview Pilot Program, to include all *utility* patent applications in all technology areas. Patent applications eligible for review in the previous Pilot Program were limited to certain technology areas. The new Pilot Program does not involve such limitations.

Under the new Pilot Program, patent applicants are entitled to a first action interview, upon request, prior to receiving the first Office Action on the merits. This Pilot Program will run through May 2012. Patent applicants who participate in the new Pilot Program may receive several important advantages during the patent application process (i.e., patent prosecution). Those advantages include:

► the ability to advance prosecution of a patent application;

► enhanced interaction between the applicant and the patent examiner assigned to the application;

► the opportunity to resolve patentability issues one-on-one with the examiner at the beginning of the prosecution process; and

► the opportunity to facilitate early allowance of patents.

Approximately 34% of applications in the previous Pilot Programs were allowed on the *first* Office Action on the merits, as opposed to approximately 11% on average across all technologies for new patent applications!

USPTO Director David Kappos stated that the new Pilot Program is being expanded because the USPTO has seen that enhancing interaction between the applicant and the examiner early in the prosecution process helps both the applicants and the USPTO complete the patent prosecution process more efficiently and expeditiously. Director Kappos hopes that by expanding the Pilot Program to even more technology areas, many more patent applicants will participate in the Program and take advantage of corresponding benefits.

For new patent applicants, the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program is a patent filing strategy worth considering! Speak with our patent attorneys today about how The Winston Bertani Law Group can help you achieve your patent application goals and objectives.

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