FAQ of the Week: I’m confused by this recent office action. Why are there two deadlines, a 3-month deadline and a 2-month deadline?

FAQ office action fishiplaw

Question

I’m confused by this recent office action.  Why are there two deadlines, a 3-month deadline and a 2-month deadline?

Answer

“Final” office actions trigger both a 3-month deadline and a 2-month deadline.  The 3-month deadline is the normal deadline that applies to almost all substantive office actions.  The 2-month deadline is used for making relatively minor changes that are expected to immediately place the application in condition for allowance.  If a response filed before the 2-month deadline is successful, one can avoid (a) submitting a Request for Continued Examination, and (b) paying the associated fees that would otherwise be required if filing at the 3-month deadline.  Filing before the 2-month deadline is referred to as a Response After Final.  It is usually a waste of money to file a Response After Final if the amendments to the claims are extensive.