An effective request for early processing causes prosecution of the application by the EPO as designated/elected Office to be taken up before expiry of the 31-month time limit. In addition to the possibility of requesting early processing, the applicant may want accelerated prosecution of his application in the European phase. For this purpose, a separate request under the PACE programme is to be submitted online upon entry into the European phase or later (EPO Form 1005). Depending on the time when the request is submitted and the indications made in the form, accelerated prosecution may cover the establishment of the supplementary European search report, where such a report is to be drawn up (see points 577 ff), or substantive examination. A PACE request may be filed only once for each stage of the procedure. This means that, for a Euro-PCT application for which a supplementary European search is carried out, a request for accelerated examination cannot be filed on entry into the European phase but only after the applicant has declared that he wishes to proceed further to examination (Rule 70(2), 70a(2) EPC; see points 588-589).
Date retrieved: 30 December 2018