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Guide for applicants, Part 1: How to get a European patent

Annex II
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 4 May 2010 concerning the programme for accelerated prosecution of European patent applications – "PACE" 
The entry into force of new Rule 70a and amended Rule 161 EPC means updating the PACE programme. The revised PACE programme[ 5 ] takes account in particular of the changes to the European grant procedure which entered into force on 1 April 2010 concerning the applicant's obligation to file a substantive response under Rule 70a or Rule 161(1) EPC to
- the extended European search report (EESR), 
- the written opinion of the International Search Authority (WO-ISA) drawn up by the EPO,  
- the international preliminary examination report (IPER) drawn up by the EPO, or 
- the explanations under Rule 45bis.7(e) PCT contained in the supplementary international search report (SISR) drawn up by the EPO.[ 6 ]
As in the past, PACE enables applicants who want their applications processed rapidly to obtain the European search report plus opinion under Rule 62(1) EPC, the first examination report and any communication under Rule 71(3) EPC within tight deadlines.
More details of the revised PACE programme, including any peculiarities for Euro-PCT applications, are given below.  
[ 5 ] Revised version of the notice last published in Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, F.1.
[ 6 ] See notice of the EPO of 24 March 2010 concerning the carrying out of supplementary international searches under the PCT, OJ EPO 2010, 316.