Update to EPO Accelerated Prosecution Procedure

Law

From 1st January 2016, the EPO adopted a revised 'PACE' procedure for accelerating EPO prosecution.

There are no changes to the core idea of PACE.  The filing of a PACE request incurs no official fee, and remains off the public file.  The EPO may decline a PACE request, e.g. based on workload of the examining group.

Under PACE, the EPO will aim to issue the first, and any subsequent, examination report within three months.  The changes to PACE do not affect other routes to accelerated prosecution, which include the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).

The main changes are:

a PACE Request must be made via on official EPO Form 1005;

it can only be made when the Examing Division has assumed responsibility for the file;

the accelerated procedure is not permanent, and can be revoked by the EPO if an extension of time is required to an examination report, if the application is refused or deemed to be withdrawn.