MPEP 2271
Final Action

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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2271    Final Action [R-07.2015]

Before a final action is in order, a clear issue should be developed between the examiner and the patent owner. To bring the prosecution to a speedy conclusion and at the same time deal justly with the patent owner and the public, the examiner will twice provide the patent owner with such information and references as may be useful in defining the position of the Office as to unpatentability before the action is made final. Initially, the decision ordering reexamination of the patent will contain an identification of the substantial new questions of patentability that the examiner considers to be raised by the cited prior art. In addition, the first Office action will reflect the consideration of any arguments contained in the request, any amendments submitted with a request under 35 U.S.C. 302, any owner’s statement filed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.530, and any reply thereto by the requester, and should fully apply all relevant grounds of rejection to the claims.

The statement which the patent owner may file under 37 CFR 1.530 and the response to the first Office action should completely respond to and/or amend with a view to avoiding all outstanding grounds of rejection.

It is intended that the second Office action in the reexamination proceeding following the decision ordering reexamination will generally be made final. The criteria for making a rejection final in an ex parte reexamination proceeding is analogous to that set forth in MPEP § 706.07(a) for making a rejection final in an application. Both the patent owner and the examiner should recognize that a reexamination proceeding may result in the final cancellation of claims from the patent and that the patent owner does not have the right to renew or continue the proceedings by refiling under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or 37 CFR 1.53(d) or former 37 CFR 1.60 or 1.62, nor by filing a request for continued examination under 37 CFR 1.114. Complete and thorough actions by the examiner coupled with complete responses by the patent owner, including early presentation of evidence under 37 CFR 1.131(a) or 37 CFR 1.132, will go far in avoiding such problems and reaching a desirable early termination of the reexamination prosecution.

In making the final rejection, all outstanding grounds of rejection of record should be carefully reviewed and any grounds or rejection relied on should be reiterated. The grounds of rejection must (in the final rejection) be clearly developed to such an extent that the patent owner may readily judge the advisability of an appeal. However, where a single previous Office action contains a complete statement of a ground of rejection, the final rejection may refer to such a statement and also should include a rebuttal of any arguments raised in the patent owner’s response.

I.    PROCESS OF PREPARING THE ACTION

After an examiner has determined that the reexamination proceeding is ready for the final Office action, the examiner will set up a panel review conference, as per MPEP § 2271.01, to discuss the issuance of the action. The examiner may prepare the action after the conference, or may prepare the action prior to the conference and revise it as needed after the conference.

If the conference confirms the examiner’s preliminary decision to reject and/or allow the claims and issue a final Office action, the proposed final Office action shall be issued and signed by the examiner, with the two, or more, other conferees initialing the action (as "conferee") to indicate their presence in the conference.

II.    FORM PARAGRAPHS

The final rejection letter should conclude with one of form paragraphs 22.09 or 22.10.

¶ 22.09    Ex Parte Reexamination - Action Is Final

THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL.

A shortened statutory period for response to this action is set to expire [1] from the mailing date of this action.

Extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) do not apply in reexamination proceedings. The provisions of 37 CFR 1.136 apply only to "an applicant" and not to parties in a reexamination proceeding. Further, in 35 U.S.C. 305 and in 37 CFR 1.550(a), it is required that reexamination proceedings "will be conducted with special dispatch within the Office."

Extensions of time in reexamination proceedings are provided for in 37 CFR 1.550(c). A request for extension of time must specify the requested period of extension and it must be accompanied by the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(g). Any request for an extension in a third party requested ex parte reexamination must be filed on or before the day on which action by the patent owner is due, and the mere filing of a request will not effect any extension of time. A request for an extension of time in a third party requested ex parte reexamination will be granted only for sufficient cause, and for a reasonable time specified. Any request for extension in a patent owner requested ex parte reexamination (including reexamination ordered under 35 U.S.C. 257 ) for up to two months from the time period set in the Office action must be filed no later than two months from the expiration of the time period set in the Office action. A request for an extension in a patent owner requested ex parte reexamination for more than two months from the time period set in the Office action must be filed on or before the day on which action by the patent owner is due, and the mere filing of a request for an extension for more than two months will not effect the extension. The time for taking action in a patent owner requested ex parte reexamination will not be extended for more than two months from the time period set in the Office action in the absence of sufficient cause or for more than a reasonable time.

The filing of a timely first response to this final rejection will be construed as including a request to extend the shortened statutory period for an additional two months. In no event, however, will the statutory period for response expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of the final action. See MPEP § 2265.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph may be used only in reexamination proceedings.

2. In bracket 1, insert the appropriate period for response, which is normally TWO (2) MONTHS.

¶ 22.10    Ex Parte Reexamination - Action Is Final, Necessitated by Amendment

Patent owner’s amendment filed [1] necessitated the new grounds of rejection presented in this Office action. Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL. See MPEP § 706.07(a).

A shortened statutory period for response to this action is set to expire [2] from the mailing date of this action.

Extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) do not apply in reexamination proceedings. The provisions of 37 CFR 1.136 apply only to "an applicant" and not to parties in a reexamination proceeding. Further, in 35 U.S.C. 305 and in 37 CFR 1.550(a), it is required that reexamination proceedings "will be conducted with special dispatch within the Office."

Extensions of time in reexamination proceedings are provided for in 37 CFR 1.550(c). A request for extension of time must specify the requested period of extension and it must be accompanied by the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(g). Any request for an extension in a third party requested ex parte reexamination must be filed on or before the day on which action by the patent owner is due, and the mere filing of a request will not effect any extension of time. A request for an extension of time in a third party requested ex parte reexamination will be granted only for sufficient cause, and for a reasonable time specified. Any request for extension in a patent owner requested ex parte reexamination (including reexamination ordered under 35 U.S.C. 257 ) for up to two months from the time period set in the Office action must be filed no later than two months from the expiration of the time period set in the Office action. A request for an extension in a patent owner requested ex parte reexamination for more than two months from the time period set in the Office action must be filed on or before the day on which action by the patent owner is due, and the mere filing of a request for an extension for more than two months will not effect the extension. The time for taking action in a patent owner requested ex parte reexamination will not be extended for more than two months from the time period set in the Office action in the absence of sufficient cause or for more than a reasonable time.

The filing of a timely first response to this final rejection will be construed as including a request to extend the shortened statutory period for an additional two months. In no event, however, will the statutory period for response expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of the final action. See MPEP § 2265.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph may be used only in reexamination proceedings.

2. In bracket 1, insert filing date of amendment.

3. In bracket 2, insert the appropriate period for response, which is normally TWO (2) MONTHS.

4. As with all other Office correspondence on the merits in a reexamination proceeding, the final Office action must be signed by a primary examiner.

III.    ART CITED BY PATENT OWNER DURING PROSECUTION

Where art is submitted in a prior art citation under 37 CFR 1.501 and/or 37 CFR 1.555 (an IDS filed in a reexamination is construed as a prior art citation) and the submission is not accompanied by a statement similar to that of 37 CFR 1.97(e), the examiner may use the art submitted and make the next Office action final whether or not the claims have been amended, provided that no other new ground of rejection is introduced by the examiner based on the new art not cited in the prior art citation. See MPEP § 706.07(a).

IV.    SIGNATORY AUTHORITY

As with all other Office correspondence on the merits in a reexamination proceeding, the final Office action must be signed by a primary examiner.