715.03(a)(ii)(E) Responses After Final Refusal Signed by Unauthorized Persons, Unsigned Responses, TEAS Responses Consisting Only of a Signature, and TEAS Responses Missing Significant Data or Attachments
If an examining attorney receives a response to a final action signed by an unauthorized person, an unsigned response to a final action, a TEAS response to a final action that consists only of a signature, or a TEAS response to a final action missing significant data or attachments, the examining attorney should not hold the application abandoned for failure to respond completely. The examining attorney must issue an “Examiner’s Action Continuing a Final Refusal – 30 day Letter” (or, if appropriate, “SU – Examiner’s Action Continuing a Final Refusal – 30 day Letter”) that (1) includes an appropriate explanation of the problem with the response, (2) gives the applicant 30 days, or to the end of the six-month response period set forth in the previous Office action, whichever is longer, to submit a complete response, and (3) omits the six-month response clause. See TMEP § 705.08. Granting additional time to complete a response under 37 C.F.R. §2.65(a)(2) does not extend the deadline for filing an appeal to the Board (or petition to the Director under 37 C.F.R. §2.63(b)(2), if appropriate). See 15 U.S.C. §1062(b); 37 C.F.R. §2.142(a).
Once an examining attorney has issued an “Examiner’s Action Continuing a Final Refusal – 30 day Letter” (or “SU – Examiner’s Action Continuing a Final Refusal – 30 day Letter”), the examining attorney must abandon the application for incomplete response, using the “Abandoned Due to Incomplete Response” action, if the applicant (1) does not submit within the time remaining a complete response or a request for reconsideration that presents a new issue or new evidence significantly different from that previously provided or (2) fails to respond. The application should be abandoned for incomplete response and not for failure to respond, because the applicant did in fact respond to the final Office action by filing a request for reconsideration. See TMEP §718.03(a).