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

 
 
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3. For European patent applications claiming no priority (first filings),[ 9 ] the Office always performs an accelerated search; no separate request is needed. In such cases, the Office ensures that as a rule applicants obtain their extended search reports within six months of the filing date.
4. For European patent applications which do claim priority (second filings), if accelerated search is requested on filing the Office makes every effort to issue the extended search report as soon as possible.  
5. In either case, however, an accelerated search is possible only if the application documents on filing are complete enough for the extended search report to be drawn up. That means, in particular, providing the Office at that time with the claims, the description, the translations required and, where applicable, the drawings and a sequence listing conforming to the rules for the standardised representation of nucleotide or amino acid sequences. Prosecution under PACE will not be feasible if use is made of the possibility of referring to an earlier application (see Rule 40(1)(c) in conjunction with (2) EPC) or of subsequently filing parts of the description or drawings under Rule 56 EPC, or if the claims are filed subsequently.
6. Applicants should bear in mind that if a communication under Rule 62a, 63 or 64 EPC is necessary a search report plus opinion can be drawn up only after receipt of the applicant's response or expiry of the respective time limit.
 
[ 9 ] The Office treats European patent applications as "first filings" only if the applicant indicates on filing that he does not intend to claim priority.