Most actions from the Patent Office require a response by the applicant, and set a due date for the response. Most due dates can be extended by paying an extension fee, but only up to a statutory deadline.

If a response is not submitted by the deadline, the application is considered to have been abandoned by the applicant.

If the applicant did not intend to abandon the application, he may promptly petition for revival of the application. A large fee is due with a petition to revive, and the patent term may be reduced. Also, competitors may acquire "intervening rights" during the period of abandonment.