Q2: Changes in procedure or regulation

Abandon concept of Non-Final / Final

There is a very simple solution to the RCE problem: abandon the concept of a non-final and final office actions. These are hold-overs from the pre-1995 days when delay of prosecution did not eat into patent term. Just allow the applicant as many responses as they want before they either give up or appeal. Adjust the Examiner count (e.g. 0.5 per action) and the fees per response accordingly, perhaps escalating. Often RCEs are necessary because we have not exhausted the productive exchange of amendment and argument with the Examiner, two bites at the apple is not enough (really only one bite at the apple because the non-final response is the only real opportunity to amend and argue with guaranteed consideration).

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Idea No. 35