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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

3.2 Accelerated examination

Accelerated examination may, in principle, be requested in writing at any time. However, to be as effective as possible, it should preferably be requested:

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when filing the European patent application, provided that examination is bindingly requested at the same time (see C‑VI, 3), or
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after receipt of the extended search report and together with the applicant's response to the search opinion under Rule 62.

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 the request for accelerated examination (whichever is later).

For Euro-PCT applications too, accelerated examination may, in principle, be requested at any time. However, to be as effective as possible, it should preferably be requested:

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on entry into the European phase before the EPO, or 
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together with any response to the WO-ISA, IPER or SISR required under Rule 161(1).

If requested on entry into the European phase, accelerated prosecution covers formalities examination, the supplementary European search report and/or substantive examination, as applicable.

Since a communication under Rule 161(1) or (2) is sent for a Euro-PCT application (E‑VIII, 3), the processing of a Euro-PCT application will only start after the expiry of the six-month period even if an acceleration has been requested under the PACE programme. In order to start with the supplementary European search or examination directly, the applicant, on entry into the European phase, has to explicitly waive the right to the communication pursuant to Rule 161(1) or (2) and 162, pay any claims fees due and, where required, submit a response under Rule 161(1) (see the Notice from the EPO dated 5 April 2011, OJ EPO 2011, 354).