Slots are quickly filling up in the USPTO’s recently introduced Post Prosecution Pilot (P3) Program. In an effort to encourage “compact” prosecution, and reduce the number of appeals and RCEs filed, the P3 Program offers applicants an opportunity to advance prosecution after final rejection. Under the P3 Program, applicants can present arguments at a conference with a panel of examiners, including the examiner of record. The P3 Program will run until January 12, 2017, or until 1,600 requests have been accepted by the USPTO. The USPTO has allocated 200 slots to each technology center, which are quickly filling. At just over two months into the program, some technology centers have already filled more than half of their slots.
To participate in the P3 Program, Applicants must complete a request form, a statement that the applicant is willing to participate in a P3 conference, and a response containing no more than five pages of argumentation. Applicants also have the option of filing a proposed non-broadening amendment to one or more claims. Following the conference, applicant will receive a notice of decision indicating one of three outcomes: 1) final rejection upheld, 2) allowable application, or 3) reopen prosecution. There are no fees for participating in the program. Benefits of the P3 program include testing out proposed claim amendments, presenting arguments to multiple examiners, and gaining valuable insight from panel feedback. Applicants who wish to avoid the time and expense of appeal and/or RCE should consider taking advantage of the P3 Program. For more information on the P3 program, visit: http://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/post-prosecution-pilot.