Options After Final Rejection

Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 by Jim Ruttler.

After a final rejection is received in a patent application and assuming no agreement has been reached regarding allowance, it is still possible to continue examination. One option is to file a request for continued examination, otherwise known as an RCE, and respond the the final rejection. Filing an RCE essentially restarts the patent examination process and the examiner will then consider the arguments and amendments, conduct additional searching, and determine whether to issue a non-final rejection or allow the claims. Another option is to file a continuation application. A continuation application is a brand new application containing the same contents that relates back to the priority date of the parent application currently being examined. Once filed, the continuation application is docketed for examination and will be examined many months, if not years, later. A third option is to file a notice of appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals for consideration of the examiner’s rejections. The appeal process is time consuming, can be costly, and can involve significant delays, but can result in a reversal of the Examiner’s rejections and allowance.

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