706.07 Final Rejection [R-07.2022]
37 CFR 1.113 Final rejection or action.
- (a) On the second or any subsequent examination or consideration by the examiner the rejection or other action may be made final, whereupon applicant’s, or for ex parte reexaminations filed under § 1.510, patent owner’s reply is limited to appeal in the case of rejection of any claim (§ 41.31 of this title), or to amendment as specified in § 1.114 or § 1.116. Petition may be taken to the Director in the case of objections or requirements not involved in the rejection of any claim (§ 1.181). Reply to a final rejection or action must comply with § 1.114 or paragraph (c) of this section. For final actions in an inter partes reexamination filed under § 1.913, see § 1.953.
- (b) In making such final rejection, the examiner shall repeat or state all grounds of rejection then considered applicable to the claims in the application, clearly stating the reasons in support thereof.
- (c) Reply to a final rejection or action must include cancellation of, or appeal from the rejection of, each rejected claim. If any claim stands allowed, the reply to a final rejection or action must comply with any requirements or objections as to form.
Before final rejection is in order a clear issue should be developed between the examiner and applicant. To bring the prosecution to as speedy conclusion as possible and at the same time to deal justly by both the applicant and the public, the invention as disclosed and claimed should be thoroughly searched in the first action and the references fully applied; and in reply to this action the applicant should amend with a view to avoiding all the grounds of rejection and objection. Switching from one subject matter to another in the claims presented by applicant in successive amendments, or from one set of references to another by the examiner in rejecting in successive actions claims of substantially the same subject matter, will alike tend to defeat attaining the goal of reaching a clearly defined issue for an early termination, i.e., either an allowance of the application or a final rejection.
While applicant does not have the right to amend as often as the examiner presents new references or reasons for rejection, examiners should not make hasty and ill-considered final rejections. The applicant who is seeking to define their invention in claims that will give them the patent protection to which they are justly entitled should receive the cooperation of the examiner to that end, and not be prematurely cut off in the prosecution of their application.
The examiner should never lose sight of the fact that in every case the applicant is entitled to a full and fair hearing, and that a clear issue between applicant and examiner should be developed, if possible, before appeal. However, it is to the interest of the applicants as a class as well as to that of the public that prosecution of an application be confined to as few actions as is consistent with a thorough consideration of its merits.
STATEMENT OF GROUNDS
In making the final rejection, all outstanding grounds of rejection of record should be carefully reviewed, and any such grounds relied on in the final rejection should be reiterated. They must also be clearly developed to such an extent that applicant may readily judge the advisability of an appeal unless a single previous Office action contains a complete statement supporting the rejection.
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 applicant’s reply. If appeal is taken in such a case, the examiner’s answer should contain a complete statement of the examiner’s position. The final rejection letter should conclude with Form Paragraph 7.39.
¶ 7.39 Action Is Final
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.
- 1. This form paragraph should not be used in reissue litigation cases (SSP- 1 month) or in reexamination proceedings (SSP- 1 or 2 months).
- 2. 37 CFR 1.136(a) should not be available in a reissue litigation case and is not available in reexamination proceedings.
Form paragraph 7.39.01 may be used to notify applicant of options available after final rejection.
¶ 7.39.01 Final Rejection, Options for Applicant, Pro Se
This action is a final rejection and closes the prosecution of this application. Applicant’s reply under 37 CFR 1.113 to this action is limited to an appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an amendment complying with the requirements set forth below, or a request for continued examination (RCE) to reopen prosecution where permitted.
General information on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is available at: www.uspto.gov/patents/patent-trial- and-appeal-board/about-ptab/new-ptab. The information at this page includes guidance on time limited options that may assist the applicant contemplating appealing an examiner’s rejection. The page is best reviewed promptly after applicant has received a final rejection or the claims have been twice rejected because some of the noted assistance must be requested within one month from the date of the latest rejection. See MPEP § 1204 for more information on filing a notice of appeal.
If applicant should desire to appeal any rejection made by the examiner, a Notice of Appeal must be filed within the period for reply. The Notice of Appeal must be accompanied by the fee required by 37 CFR 41.20(b)(1). The current fee amount is available at: www.uspto.gov/Fees.
If applicant should desire to file an after-final amendment, entry of the proposed amendment cannot be made as a matter of right unless it merely cancels claims or complies with a formal requirement made in a previous Office action. Amendments touching the merits of the application which otherwise might not be proper may be admitted upon a showing of good and sufficient reasons why they are necessary and why they were not presented earlier.
A reply under 37 CFR 1.113 to a final rejection must include cancellation of or appeal from the rejection of, each rejected claim. The filing of an amendment after final rejection, whether or not it is entered, does not stop the running of the statutory period for reply to the final rejection unless the examiner holds all of the claims to be in condition for allowance.
If applicant should desire to continue prosecution in a utility or plant application filed on or after May 29, 2000 and have the finality of this Office action withdrawn, an RCE under 37 CFR 1.114 may be filed within the period for reply. See MPEP § 706.07(h) for more information on the requirements for filing an RCE.
The application will become abandoned unless a Notice of Appeal, an after final reply that places the application in condition for allowance, or an RCE has been filed properly within the period for reply, or any extension of this period obtained under either 37 CFR 1.136(a) or (b).
The Office Action Summary Form PTOL-326 should be used in all Office actions up to and including final rejections.
For final rejection practice in reexamination proceedings see MPEP § 2271.