By Michael Varco, Principal
On December 13, 2016, at the USPTO’s Patent Quality Conference, the USPTO released statistics on its Post-Prosecution Pilot Program (P3).
As of 12/8/2016, 995 P3 Pilot decisions have been rendered. Among the 995 decisions, 601 had the final rejection maintained (60.4%), 184 had prosecution reopened (18.5%), and 210 were allowed (21.1%).
Also, only Technology Centers 1600 and 1700 are still accepting P3 pilot requests. The other Technology Centers have reached their 200-request limits and are no longer accepting requests. However, Technology Center 1700 is very close to its 200-request limit. As of 12/8/2016, Technology Center 1700 has already approved 198 P3 Pilot Requests.
The USPTO introduced the P3 Program earlier this year, in 81 Fed. Reg. 44845 (July 11, 2016), as a new program that combines features of the Pre-Appeal Brief Request for Review and After-Final Continuation Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) Program. The P3 Program provides for (i) an after final response including up to five (5) pages of arguments be considered by a panel of examiners (a Pre-Appeal feature), (ii) an after final response to include an optional proposed amendment (an AFCP 2.0 feature), and (iii) an opportunity for the applicant to make an oral presentation to the panel of examiners (a new feature).