Amendments are very common during patent prosecution. An applicant must file the amendment within six months of the issuance of the office action. Also, if an applicant waits more than three months, a fee must be included.

Amendments are directed primarily to the scope of the claims. An applicant usually has to narrow the scope of his or her claims. However, an applicant may also broaden the scope of his or her claims in certain cases.

An applicant may also choose to argue that the rejection was improper without amending the scope of the claims. This is called “traversing the rejection.” Amendments may also correct errors in the specifications or the drawings. However, such amendments cannot add new matter.