The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently requested comments concerning the Request for Continued Examination (RCE).
There is currently a backlog of over 90,000 patent applications that have not been examined since the filing of a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). The USPTO asserts that the backlog diverts resources away from the examination of new applications. In an effort to reduce the large backlog, the USPTO implemented a pair of pilot programs—the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot program and the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP)—designed to reduce the need to file an RCE.
The USPTO is now soliciting public feedback in an effort to better understand the full spectrum of factors that impact the decision to file an RCE. Three different avenues are available for the public to provide their feedback on RCE practice:
(1) Through the submission of written comments by electronic mail message over the Internet or by postal mail;
(2) through the submission of written comments using a Web-based collaboration tool called IdeaScale®; and
(3) through a series of roundtables that the USPTO is planning to conduct. The USPTO plans to use the information it obtains to design additional programs and initiatives aimed at reducing RCE filings and the RCE backlog..