Bob receives a final rejection in August, 2020, without anything allowed or even indicated that any change could over come the rejections and allowance could be achieved.

Bob files a files an action after final rejection in October, 2020, and the advisory action received in November, 2020 reaches the same conclusion: Nothing may be allowed, and a notice of appeal follows the same month.

Bob files the appeal in January, 2021.

The office, in September 2021, sends an NFOA; however, it is not yet mailed hence, its content is not known to, but to the office.

Does the NFOA after this history indicate allowance or material which may be allowed with certain changes?

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    Hard to read the tea leaves with so little info. The applicant will get the OA a few days and willI’ll
    – George White
    Sep 5, 2021 at 15:41
  • Thank you! So it is not definitely an indication. I only thought because an NFOA after Final Rejection on all claims, a rejective Advisory Action (on all claims) followed by a filed Appeal Brief, I would have thought the next step is some sort of reply for the Appeal Brief; if instead, an NFOA is entered, I would assume Bob is back to prosecution indicating that the office yielded one or more of the arguments and is to indicate allowance or conditional allowance to evade the appeal process. It seems that is not necessarily the case just because going back to an NFOA. Sep 5, 2021 at 19:55
  • It does mean it is back in prosecution, but one possibility is a new grounds of rejection.
    – George White
    Sep 6, 2021 at 0:03
  • Good point, good, sir! Thank you! Bob was impatient like children under the Christmas tree. Sep 6, 2021 at 0:52
  • I think your answer is as close as it can get; do you care to post is as an answer so that I can accept it? Sep 6, 2021 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


An Office Action after an appeal is filed indicates a return to examination. This can be because you have convinced the examiner (or SPE) that there is something wrong with the rejection. They might have also decided that they have a new grounds for rejection.

  • This is great summary for anyone running into this unexpected Christmas tree box in the future; thank you for your kind answer! Sep 6, 2021 at 20:25

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