710.02(b) Shortened Statutory Period: Situations in Which Used [R-07.2015]

Under the authority given him or her by 35 U.S.C. 133, the Director of the USPTO has directed the examiner to set a shortened period for reply to every action. The length of the shortened statutory period to be used depends on the type of reply required. Some specific cases of shortened statutory periods for reply are given below. These periods may be changed under special, rarely occurring circumstances.

A shortened statutory period may not be less than 30 days (35 U.S.C. 133).

The Patent Law Treaty (PLT), which entered into force with respect to the United States on December 18, 2013, provides for a time period of at least two months for replies to most Office actions and other notices. The Office has certain pilot programs that are not encompassed by this requirement of the PLT and set a time period of less than two months for reply.


  • (A) Requirement for restriction or election of species only (no action on the merits) …… MPEP §§ 809.02(a) and 817.
  • (B) When a reply by an applicant for a nonfinal Office action is bona fide but includes an inadvertent omission, the examiner may set a 2 month shortened statutory time period to correct the omission …. MPEP §§ 710.01 and 714.03.
  • (C) Winning party in a terminated interference to reply to an unanswered Office action …… MPEP Chapter 2300.
    • Where, after the termination of an interference proceeding, the application of the winning party contains an unanswered Office action, final rejection or any other action, the primary examiner notifies the applicant of this fact. In this case reply to the Office action is required within a shortened statutory period running from the date of such notice. See Ex parte Peterson, 49 USPQ 119, 1941 C.D. 8, 525 OG 3 (Comm’r Pat. 1941).
  • (D) To reply to an Ex parteQuayle Office action ……… MPEP § 714.14.
    • When an application is in condition for allowance, except as to matters of form, such as correction of the specification, a new oath, etc., the application will be considered special and prompt action taken to require correction of formal matters. Such action should include an indication on the Office Action Summary form PTOL-326 that prosecution on the merits is closed in accordance with the decision in Ex parte Quayle, 25 USPQ 74, 453 OG 213 (Comm’r Pat. 1935). A 2-month shortened statutory period for reply should be set.
  • (E) Multiplicity rejection — no other rejection …….. MPEP § 2173.05(n).


To reply to any Office action on the merits.


Where the citation of a reference is incorrect or an Office action contains some other defect and this error is called to the attention of the Office within 1 month of the mail date of the action, the Office will restart the previously set period for reply to run from the date the error is corrected, if requested to do so by applicant. See MPEP § 710.06.