Sooner or later, the USPTO will issue an office action. The examiner will usually issue one or more office action during the prosecution of a patent. The examiner will typically try to get an applicant to reduce the scope of its claims.

There are basically two types of office action: a non-final rejection and final rejection. The office action will usually include rejections and objections. Common rejections are informalities, lack of novelty, obviousness and double patenting. Sometimes an examiner will even identify patentable subject matter in the application.

Once an office action is issued, an applicant can respond in one of four ways:
  • By amending the application
  • By arranging an interview with the examiner
  • By filing an appeal (if possible)
  • By paying a fee to continue prosecution of the application (if necessary)