Request for Continued Examination (RCE)

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Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs) keep a patent pending.

An RCE is a request to continue to pursue a patent application for which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has closed prosecution (e.g., the application is under final rejection or a notice of allowance). Filing an RCE requires an additional fee, which increases with subsequent RCEs in a patent application.

The following are some use cases for an RCE. In an example, an RCE can be used to continue examination of a patent application after the USPTO has issued a final rejection. In this situation, the patent examiner will review the patent application, considering the claim amendments and/or arguments against the rejections (from the final Office Action).

In another example, in response to a final rejection, or to a Notice of Allowance, you may file a continuation application, or a continuation-in-part application (CIP), to keep patent prosecution open for new claims or add new material to the invention disclosure. In this situation, an RCE may be used to provide additional time to prepare the continuation application or CIP application.

In yet another example, an RCE can be used to continue examination of a patent application after the USPTO has issued a notice of allowance. For example, if the applicant becomes aware of new prior art after the notice of allowance has issued, the applicant may amend the claims to overcome the new prior art by filing an RCE with the amendments.

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