Non-Final Office Action Law and Legal Definition
In the U.S. Patent law, an office action refers to a document written by a patent examiner after examining a patent application. An office action can be final or non-final. A non-final office action is an office action letter that raises new issues. It is the first phase of the examination process. Usually, an examining attorney issues a non-final office action after reviewing the application for the first time.
If a new issue arises after the applicant responds to the first non-final office action, the examining attorney will issue another non-final office action that sets forth the new issues and continues any that remain outstanding. Applicants must respond to non-final office action letters within six months from the date they are issued. If there is no response to a non-final office action the application can be abandoned.