Using RCE: Request for Continued Examination

A final office action does not have to result in a final disposition of the case, unless no action is taken. In addition to an after-final consideration request (AFCP) , appeal and/or filing Continuation and Divisional applications, another mechanism for continuing prosecution is the RCE.

The USPTO uses a production-based system of “counts” (points) that are considered in examiner bonuses, promotions, and warnings. Certain work performed by the examiner are awarded points, such as issuing office actions. The examiner can also get points when not doing work, such as when an applicant files an RCE. Although examiners have the same incentive to allow cases after final or when an RCE is filed, the examiner is awarded both sets of points when an applicant files an RCE, then the case is allowed. With this greater incentive, it makes sense to file RCEs to move the case along.

In an application relating to a Fiber Array for Optical Imaging, after a final office action issued, NRVIP Law filed an RCE amending the claims, which immediately resulted in allowance of the patent.

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