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Why Are You Not Taking Advantage of the First Action Interview Pilot Program?

What is the first action interview pilot program?

For those who are not familiar with the first action interview pilot program (FAIPP), I will let the USPTO explain it:

Under the Full First Action Interview Pilot Program, an applicant is entitled to a first action interview, upon request, prior to the first Office action on the merits. The examiner will conduct a prior art search and provide applicant with a condensed pre-interview communication citing relevant prior art and identifying proposed rejections or objections. Within 30 days of receipt, applicant schedules an interview and submits proposed amendments and/or arguments. At the interview, the relevant prior art, proposed rejections, amendments and arguments will be discussed. If agreement is not reached, the applicant will receive a first action interview Office action that includes an interview summary that constitutes a first Office action on the merits under 35 USC 132. (https://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/first-action-interview/full-first-action-interview-pilot-program).

So, basically you are getting a free peek into the first office action before it is officially mailed. This enables you to head off any obvious issues (like the Examiner interpreting your claims in a way you never expected) that should get you to an allowance faster (either immediately or through a much better first office action).

The requirements for enrolling in the FAIPP are:

  1. The application must contain three (3) or fewer independent claims and twenty (20) or fewer total claims.
  2. The application must not contain any multiple dependent claims.
  3. Applicant agrees to make an election without traverse if the Office determines that the claims are not
    obviously directed to a single invention; and
  4. Applicant agrees not to request a refund of the search fee and any excess claims fee paid in the
    application after the mailing or notification of the pre-interview communication prepared by the examiner.

Interviews conducted under FAIPP are more likely to yield an allowance

If you read my previous post on examiner interviews, you will know that, overall, interviews before the first office action yield an allowance 27% of the time. Taking just the subset of those which were conducted under the first action interview pilot program, the rate of next action allowances jumps to 36%:

Applications enrolled in FAIPP have an allowance rate of 94%

Approximately 8800 FAIPP applications with applications filed since 2010 have been disposed. Of those disposals, 94% were allowances. The overall allowance rate for applications filed since 2010 is 76%.

Since 2010, FAIPP Applications have an allowance rate of 94% vs an overall allowance rate of 76% for all application.

Looking at this data tells me that I should start taking advantage of the first action interview pilot program more.  What do you think?

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