Historical patent data and patent analysis tools can help practitioners and applicants determine whether filing an RCE is a wise decision.
A patent practitioner may need to file a Request for Continued Examination (RCE) for many reasons, but most often an RCE is used to re-open prosecution after a patent examiner issues a final office action. Even though a patent applicant may respond directly to a final office action with the hope of overcoming a patent examiner’s rejections, applicants are limited on the type and amount of changes they can make in their response. Significant but often necessary amendments or arguments are not allowed in responses to final office actions, and that includes amendments to patent claims, extensive arguments, and other changes that may require the assigned patent examiner to conduct additional prior art searches.
An RCE is often the best vehicle for keeping prosecution alive after a final office action. RCEs enable patent practitioners to make more significant changes and more compelling arguments than they could by responding directly to a final office action – in that way, RCEs create a new life for patent applications and allow patent practitioners to submit more convincing arguments in favor of patentability.
Of course, filing an RCE does have its price and certainly does not guarantee a granted patent. Historical patent data and patent analysis tools can help practitioners and applicants determine whether filing an RCE is a wise decision.
Assess Your Team’s RCE Statistics
An RCE is only as effective as the argument it accompanies. If your team has a strong track record of obtaining a patent after submitting RCE in the past, you may have little to lose by moving forward with an RCE for your current patent application.
The LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent analysis platform provides users with access to patent data about specific applicants and patent practitioners. Through PatentAdvisor™, you can consider the quantity and outcome of RCEs previously filed by your company or patent professionals to help you determine whether an RCE is the right choice in the present.
Your Art Unit and Examiner Statistics
Even a strong team of patent professionals can have a hard time overcoming a rejection from a difficult patent examiner. PatentAdvisor produces patent statistics on your assigned art unit and examiner to help predict the effectiveness of your RCE. Not only does PatentAdvisor convey each art unit’s and patent examiner’s RCE statistics, but the PatentAdvisor prosecution platform can also show you each patent examiner’s patent backlog to help determine how quickly your RCE will be reviewed.