Layers of Amendments

There are various strategies available to responding to Office action rejections. Selecting the right strategy for the right application can be difficult. But to do so, one must consider all of the various options available.

One option that can sometimes be helpful is the layered amendment approach. The theory is to utilize layers of amendments that will simply require significant amounts of time and effort on the part of the Patent Office.  One utilizes a desired minimal amendment in the independent claim that provides a good argument against the rejection, and then on top of that numerous layers of further amendments are made to as many dependent claims as possible.  Some of these amendments may simply be to add features that, while potentially not difficult to reject, require more searching. Sometimes the idea of writing a rejection addressing all of these features pushes the Patent Office to take the main amendment/argument for the independent claim more seriously. 

A potential downside of this approach is that the Office simply allows only a narrow dependent claim. While true, in practice if your layer your amendments in a way that makes even this approach still require a significant effort on the part of the Office, you may find a notice of allowance more often than you expect.

While this approach is not applicable in every, and likely not even many cases, it can be strategically utilized in the right situation to convince the Office to allow a case that should be allowed without further rejections and delay.