Notice of Allowance/Notice of Allowability
The Notice of Allowance signifies that claims of a Patent Application are allowed by the examiner. Once we receive the notice of allowance, we have to pay the Issue Fees within a specified deadline to initiate the process for grant of the Patent Application. The deadline for the payment of the Issue Fees is three months from date of mailing of the Notice of Allowance. This deadline of three months is not extendable.
Notice of Allowability documents come with USPTO code “NOA”. Further, in many cases, we receive Corrected Notice of Allowance, Corrected Notice of Allowability, Notice of Allowability and Supplemental Notice of Allowability under same USPTO code “NOA.” We will discuss each of these notices in detail below. Also, we will also discuss the process to docket them appropriately.
1. Corrected Notice of Allowance:
In some cases, the examiner realizes that there was an error in the document of the Notice of Allowance mailed to the attorney. The error could contain incorrect data, not including the timely filed amendment, etc. Further, the examiner identifies whether the modification of the error will require the republication of the document. The examiner then instructs its ITU staff to coordinate with Attorney regarding the modification of the error. Also, ITU staff confirms if the republication of the document is required.
The USPTO then issues the Corrected Notice of Allowance with the corrected data or amendments. While docketing the Notice, we must take care that due date for Payment of Issue Fee and make sure that it is not altered or changed. The due date for the Payment of Issue will remain same as per the initial Notice of Allowance.
2. Corrected Notice of Allowability:
In few cases, though the claims are allowed, there is a need to revise some aspect of the Patent Application for completing the Notice of Allowance process. We have to revise the Patent Application as per the Notice and submit again according to the USPTO compliance. For instance, the corrected drawings need to be submitted in a particular format. There may be a requirement to renumber the claims and submitted again as per the allowed claims. There may be other requirements as well. The USPTO then issues the Corrected Notice of Allowability to notify the requirement to the Attorney. We need to fulfill the requirement and submit with the USPTO within the specified time mentioned in the document. The examiner verifies the Patent Application again, and issues receive the Notice of Allowance from USPTO.
3. Notice of Allowability:
The Notice of Allowability is the condition of Allowance of the Patent Application. The applicant has to satisfy the requirements of the patentability and ensures the prosecution is closed on merit. The requirement can be a submission of declaration documents or any other formal matter related to Patent Application. The applicant must fulfill the formalities either before or along with the Payment of Issue Fees. The Notice of Allowability does not alter the due date of the Payment of Issue Fee.
In many cases, the Notice of Allowance consists of a Notice of Allowability. Though it does not affect the condition of allowance of the Patent Application, however, the Notice of Allowability should be reviewed to ensure the formalities of the Patent Application is in order.
4. Supplemental Notice of Allowability:
The USPTO has implemented a program i.e. QPIDS, to permit applicants to file IDS statements after the Notice of Allowance is received. It does not require to continue prosecution by filing a working RCE with the IDS however, the applicant fills the RCE Form.
Applicant files a request form (no new fee), the IDS, and still file an RCE and the Petition to Withdraw, with the usual fees. If the Examiner considers prior art cited in IDS and verifies it does not affect the condition of Allowance. If the cited prior art does not affect the allowability of claims then supplemental Notice of Allowability issued.
All the above notices received are part of the post-allowance prosecution. The notices ensure the Patent Application and related documents are compliant with USPTO. The notices do not affect the due date of the Issue Fee Payment, however, may result in abandon if the documents are not in order. Thus, the notices should be checked thoroughly to ensure all the documents are appropriately docketed.
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Happy Docketing to you. 🙂