obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

The blog for inventors, in-house counsel, & entrepreneurs.

Mourning the First Action Interview Program

by Orlando Lopez

Today we mourn the termination of the First Action Interview Program.  The US Patent and Trademark Office’s First Action Interview Program, the best program from the USPTO that you never heard of, was terminated on April 1, 2010 (no, this is not an April Fool’s joke).

The First Action Interview Program allowed both a search and an interview before you received a formal examination from the Patent Office, which meant that you received an extra bite at the patent examination apple. In reality, this meant that you had an opportunity that the examiner would understand your invention before he/she started with the pesky rejections.  And, in the case where the examiner did understand your invention, the program allowed you to amend your claims before the first examination.  Consequently, you were able to move your patents faster through the Patent Office, saving yourself some time and probably some money.

We hope that this obituary is premature and that Director Kappos will revive the program as part of the quality initiative (for an example of use of the First Action Interview Program see the 12:01 Tuesday Blog of April 9, 2010).

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