MPEP 706.07(g)
Transitional After-Final Practice

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

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706.07(g)    Transitional After-Final Practice [R-07.2015]

37 C.F.R. 1.129 Transitional procedures for limited examination after final rejection and restriction practice.

  • (a) An applicant in an application, other than for reissue or a design patent, that has been pending for at least two years as of June 8, 1995, taking into account any reference made in such application to any earlier filed application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 and 365(c), is entitled to have a first submission entered and considered on the merits after final rejection under the following circumstances: The Office will consider such a submission, if the first submission and the fee set forth in § 1.17(r) are filed prior to the filing of an appeal brief and prior to abandonment of the application. The finality of the final rejection is automatically withdrawn upon the timely filing of the submission and payment of the fee set forth in § 1.17(r). If a subsequent final rejection is made in the application, applicant is entitled to have a second submission entered and considered on the merits after the subsequent final rejection under the following circumstances: The Office will consider such a submission, if the second submission and a second fee set forth in § 1.17(r) are filed prior to the filing of an appeal brief and prior to abandonment of the application. The finality of the subsequent final rejection is automatically withdrawn upon the timely filing of the submission and payment of the second fee set forth in § 1.17(r). Any submission filed after a final rejection made in an application subsequent to the fee set forth in § 1.17(r) having been twice paid will be treated as set forth in § 1.116. A submission as used in this paragraph includes, but is not limited to, an information disclosure statement, an amendment to the written description, claims or drawings and a new substantive argument or new evidence in support of patentability.

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  • (c) The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any application filed after June 8, 1995.

In order to facilitate the completion of prosecution of applications pending in the USPTO as of June 8, 1995 and to ease the transition between a 17-year patent term and a 20-year patent term, Public Law 103-465 provided for the further limited reexamination of an application pending for 2 years or longer as of June 8, 1995, taking into account any reference made in the application to any earlier filed application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c). The further limited reexamination permits applicants to present for consideration, as a matter of right upon payment of a fee, a submission after a final rejection has been issued on an application. An applicant will be able to take advantage of this provision on two separate occasions provided the submission and fee are presented prior to the filing of the Appeal Brief and prior to abandonment of the application. This will have the effect of enabling an applicant to essentially remove the finality of the prior Office action in the pending application on two separate occasions by paying a fee for each occasion, and avoid the impact of refiling the application to obtain consideration of additional claims and/or information relative to the claimed subject matter. The transitional after-final practice is only available to applications filed on or before June 8, 1995 and it is not available for reissue or design applications or reexamination proceedings.

The following flowchart illustrates the transitional after-final procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.129(a).

Flowchart. Transitional After-Final Provision - 37 CFR 1.129(a), Starting June 8, 1995

Effective June 8, 1995, in any pending application having an actual or effective filing date of June 8, 1993 or earlier, applicant is entitled, under 37 CFR 1.129(a), to have a first submission after final rejection entered and considered on the merits, if the submission and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) are filed prior to the filing of an Appeal Brief under 37 CFR 41.37 and prior to abandonment. For an application entering national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 or an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) claiming benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 of a PCT application designating the U.S., the PCT international filing date will be used to determine whether the application has been pending for at least 2 years as of June 8, 1995.

Form paragraph 7.41.01.fti may be used to notify applicant that the application qualifies under 37 CFR 1.129(a).

¶ 7.41.01.fti    Transitional After Final Practice, First Submission (37 CFR 1.129(a))

This application is subject to the provisions of Public Law 103-465, effective June 8, 1995. Accordingly, since this application has been pending for at least two years as of June 8, 1995, taking into account any reference to an earlier-filed application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c), applicant, under 37 CFR 1.129(a), is entitled to have a first submission entered and considered on the merits if, prior to abandonment, the submission and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) are filed prior to the filing of an appeal brief under 37 CFR 41.37. Upon the timely filing of a first submission and the appropriate fee of $[1] for a [2] entity under 37 CFR 1.17(r), the finality of the previous Office action will be withdrawn. If a notice of appeal and the appeal fee set forth in 37 CFR 41.20(b) were filed prior to or with the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) by applicant will be construed as a request to dismiss the appeal and to continue prosecution under 37 CFR 1.129(a). In view of 35 U.S.C. 132, no amendment considered as a result of payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) may introduce new matter into the disclosure of the application.

If applicant has filed multiple proposed amendments which, when entered, would conflict with one another, specific instructions for entry or non-entry of each such amendment should be provided upon payment of any fee under 37 CFR 1.17(r).

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph may follow any of form paragraphs 7.39 - 7.41 in any application filed prior to June 9, 1995, which has been pending for at least two years as of June 8, 1995, taking into account any reference under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c) to a previously filed application and no previous fee has been paid under 37 CFR 1.17(r).

2. This form paragraph should NOT be used in a design or reissue application, or in a reexamination proceeding.

3. In bracket 1, insert the current fee for a large or small entity, as appropriate.

4. In bracket 2, insert --small-- or --large--, depending on the current status of the application.

The submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) may comprise, but is not limited to, an information disclosure statement (IDS), an amendment to the written description, claims or drawings, a new substantive argument and/or new evidence. No amendment considered as a result of payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) may introduce new matter into the disclosure of the application 35 U.S.C. 132. In view of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), any (IDS) previously refused consideration in the application because of applicant’s failure to comply with 37 CFR 1.97(c) or (d) will be treated as though it has been filed within one of the time periods set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(b) and will be considered without the petition and petition fee required in 37 CFR 1.97(d), if it complies with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.98. Any IDS submitted under 37 CFR 1.129(a) on or after June 8, 2005 without a statement specified in 37 CFR 1.97(e) will be treated as though it had been filed within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p). The examiner may introduce a new ground of rejection based on the information submitted in the IDS and make the next Office action final provided that the examiner introduces no other new ground of rejection, which has not been necessitated by amendment to the claims. See MPEP § 706.07(a).

If the application qualifies under 37 CFR 1.129(a), that is, it was filed on or before June 8, 1995 and the application has an effective U.S. filing date of June 8, 1993 or earlier, the examiner must check to see if the submission and 37 CFR 1.17(r) fee were filed prior to the filing of the Appeal Brief and prior to abandonment of the application. If an amendment was timely filed in reply to the final rejection but the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) did not accompany the amendment, examiners will continue to consider these amendments in an expedited manner as set forth in MPEP § 714.13 and issue an advisory action notifying applicant whether the amendment has been entered. If the examiner indicated in an advisory action that the amendment has not been entered, applicant may then pay the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) and any necessary fee to avoid abandonment of the application and obtain entry and consideration of the amendment as a submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a). If the submission and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) were timely filed in reply to the final rejection and no advisory action has been issued prior to the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), no advisory action will be necessary. The examiner will notify applicant that the finality of the previous office action has been withdrawn pursuant to 37 CFR 1.129(a). It is noted that if the submission is accompanied by a "conditional" payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), i.e., an authorization to charge the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) to a deposit account or to a credit card in the event that the submission would not otherwise be entered, the Office will treat the conditional payment as an unconditional payment of the 37 CFR 1.17(r) fee.

The finality of the final rejection is automatically withdrawn upon the timely filing of the submission and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r). Upon the timely payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), all previously unentered submissions, and submissions filed with the 37 CFR 1.17(r) fee will be entered in the order in which they were filed absent specific instructions for entry. Any conflicting amendments should be clarified for entry by the applicant upon payment of the 37 CFR 1.17(r) fee. Form paragraph 7.42.01.fti should be used to notify applicant that the finality of the previous Office action has been withdrawn.

¶ 7.42.01.fti    Withdrawal of Finality of Last Office Action - Transitional Application Under 37 CFR 1.129(a)

Since this application is eligible for the transitional procedure of 37 CFR 1.129(a), and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) has been timely paid, the finality of the previous Office action has been withdrawn pursuant to 37 CFR 1.129(a). Applicant’s [1] submission after final filed on [2] has been entered.

Examiner Note:

Insert --first-- or --second-- in bracket 1.

If a Notice of Appeal and the appeal fee set forth in 37 CFR 41.20(b) were filed prior to or with the payment of the fee set forth 37 CFR 1.17(r), the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) by applicant is construed as a request to dismiss the appeal and to continue prosecution under 37 CFR 1.129(a).

Upon the timely payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), if the examiner determines that the submission is not fully responsive to the previous Office action, e.g., if the submission only includes an information disclosure statement, applicant will be given a new shortened statutory period of 2 months to submit a complete reply. Form paragraph 7.42.02.fti should be used.

¶ 7.42.02.fti    Nonresponsive Submission Filed Under 37 CFR 1.129(a)

The timely submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) filed on [1] is not fully responsive to the prior Office action because [2]. Since the submission appears to be a bona fide attempt to provide a complete reply to the prior Office action, applicant is given a shortened statutory period of TWO MONTHS from the mailing date of this letter to submit a complete reply. This shortened statutory period supersedes the time period set in the prior Office action. This time period may be extended pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a). If a notice of appeal and the appeal fee set forth in 37 CFR 41.20(b) were filed prior to or with the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) by applicant is construed as a request to dismiss the appeal and to continue prosecution under 37 CFR 1.129(a). The appeal stands dismissed.

Examiner Note:

The reasons why the examiner considers the submission not to be fully responsive must be set forth in bracket 2.

I.    SUBMISSIONS UNDER 37 CFR 1.129(a) FILED PRIOR TO JUNE 8, 2005

After submission and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), the next Office action on the merits may be made final only under the conditions for making a first action in a continuing application final set forth in MPEP § 706.07(b).

Form paragraph 7.42.03.fti may be used if it is appropriate to make the first action final following a submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) filed prior to June 8, 2005.

¶ 7.42.03.fti    Action Is Final, First Action Following Submission Under 37 CFR 1.129(a) Filed Prior to June 8, 2005

All claims are drawn to the same invention claimed in the application prior to the entry of the submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) and could have been finally rejected on the grounds and art of record in the next Office action if they had been entered in the application prior to entry under 37 CFR 1.129(a). Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL even though it is a first action after the submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a). See MPEP § 706.07(b). Applicant is reminded of the extension of time policy as set forth in 37 CFR 1.136(a).

A shortened statutory period for reply to this final action is set to expire THREE MONTHS from the mailing date of this action. In the event a first reply is filed within TWO MONTHS of the mailing date of this final action and the advisory action is not mailed until after the end of the THREE-MONTH shortened statutory period, then the shortened statutory period will expire on the date the advisory action is mailed, and any extension fee pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be calculated from the mailing date of the advisory action. In no event, however, will the statutory period for reply expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of this final action.

Examiner Note:

Also use form paragraph 7.41.02.fti if this is a final rejection following a first submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a).

If a subsequent final rejection is made in the application, applicant would be entitled to have a second submission entered and considered on the merits under the same conditions set forth for consideration of the first submission. Form paragraph 7.41.02.fti should be used.

¶ 7.41.02.fti    Transitional After Final Practice, Second Submission (37 CFR 1.129(a))

Since the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) for a first submission subsequent to a final rejection has been previously paid, applicant, under 37 CFR 1.129(a), is entitled to have a second submission entered and considered on the merits if, prior to abandonment, the second submission and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) are filed prior to the filing of an appeal brief under 37 CFR 41.37. Upon the timely filing of a second submission and the appropriate fee of $[1] for a [2] entity under 37 CFR 1.17(r), the finality of the previous Office action will be withdrawn. If a notice of appeal and the appeal fee set forth in 37 CFR 41.20(b) were filed prior to or with the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r), the payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) by applicant will be construed as a request to dismiss the appeal and to continue prosecution under 37 CFR 1.129(a). In view of 35 U.S.C. 132, no amendment considered as a result of payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) may introduce new matter into the disclosure of the application.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph is to follow any of form paragraphs 7.39 - 7.41 in any application filed prior to June 9, 1995, which has been pending for at least two years as of June 8, 1995, taking into account any reference under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c) to a previously filed application and a first submission fee has been previously paid under 37 CFR 1.17(r).

2. This form paragraph should NOT be used in a design or reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding.

3. In bracket 1, insert the current fee for a large or small entity, as appropriate.

4. In bracket 2, insert --small-- or --large--, depending on the current status of the application.

5. If the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) has been twice paid, the provisions of 37 CFR 1.129(a) are no longer available.

Any submission filed after a final rejection made in the application subsequent to the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) having been twice paid will be treated in accordance with the current after-final practice set forth in 37 CFR 1.116.

II.    SUBMISSIONS UNDER 37 CFR 1.129(a) FILED ON OR AFTER JUNE 8, 2005

For timely submission and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(r) on or after June 8, 2005, the next Office action on the merits will be equivalent to the next Office action following a reply to a non-final Office action. Under existing second Office action final practice, such an Office action on the merits will be made final, except where the examiner introduces a new ground of rejection that is neither necessitated by applicant’s amendment of the claims nor based on information submitted in an IDS filed during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p). See MPEP § 706.07(a).

Form paragraph 7.42.031.fti may be used to make the next Office action final following a submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) filed on or after June 8, 2005.

¶ 7.42.031.fti    Action Is Final, Action Following Submission Under 37 CFR 1.129(a) Filed On or After June 8, 2005

Under the final action practice for Office actions following a submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) filed on or after June 8, 2005, the next Office action following timely filing of a submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) will be equivalent to the next Office action following a reply to a non-final Office action. Under existing Office second action final practice, such an Office action on the merits will be made final, except where the examiner introduces a new ground of rejection that is neither necessitated by applicant’s amendment of the claims nor based on information submitted in an information disclosure statement filed during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p). See MPEP § 706.07(a).

In this Office action, there is no new ground of rejection that was not necessitated by applicant’s amendment of the claims or based on information submitted in an information disclosure statement filed during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p). Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL. Applicant is reminded of the extension of time policy as set forth in 37 CFR 1.136(a).

A shortened statutory period for reply to this final action is set to expire THREE MONTHS from the mailing date of this action. In the event a first reply is filed within TWO MONTHS of the mailing date of this final action and the advisory action is not mailed until after the end of the THREE-MONTH shortened statutory period, then the shortened statutory period will expire on the date the advisory action is mailed, and any extension fee pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be calculated from the mailing date of the advisory action. In no event, however, will the statutory period for reply expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of this final action.

Examiner Note:

Also use form paragraph 7.41.02.fti if this is a final rejection following a first submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a)

An applicant whose application is eligible for the transitional further limited examination procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.129(a) is entitled to consideration of two after final submissions. Thus, if such an applicant has filed one submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a) and the application is again under a final rejection, the applicant is entitled to only one additional submission under 37 CFR 1.129(a). If such an applicant has filed two submissions under 37 CFR 1.129(a) and the application is again under a final rejection, applicant is not entitled to have any additional submissions considered under 37 CFR 1.129(a). Applicant may be entitled to consideration of an additional submission if the submission meets the conditions set forth in 37 CFR 1.116.