7. Accelerated examination can, in principle, be requested in writing at any time. However, to be as effective as possible, it should preferably be requested
- when filing the European patent application, provided examination is bindingly requested[ 10 ] at the same time, or
- after receipt of the extended search report and together with the applicant's response to the search opinion under Rule 62 EPC.
8. For Euro-PCT applications too, accelerated examination can, in principle, be requested at any time. However, to be as effective as possible, it should preferably be requested
- on entry into the European phase before the EPO,[ 11 ] or
- together with any response to the WO-ISA, IPER or SISR required under Rule 161(1) EPC.
If requested on entry into the European phase, accelerated prosecution covers formalities examination, the supplementary European search report and/or substantive examination, as applicable.
9. When accelerated examination is requested, the Office makes every effort to issue the first examination communication within three months of receipt by the examining division of the application, the applicant's response under Rule 70a or 161(1) EPC or the request for accelerated examination (whichever is later).
The Office aims to produce subsequent examination communications within three months of receipt of the applicant's reply, provided it is received within the time limit set by the examining division in its previous communication and deals with all the points raised. Accelerated examination can be carried out efficiently only if the applicant co-operates with the Office.
[ 10 ] I.e. the applicant has paid the requisite fee and unconditionally waived the invitation from the Office under Article 94 in conjunction with Rule 70(2) EPC).
[ 11 ]With Euro-PCT applications, the applicant can speed up entry into the European phase by expressly requesting early processing under Articles 23(2) or 40(2) PCT. However, accelerated examination in the European phase will not be performed unless requested separately under the PACE programme.