EPO REVISION OF THE PROGRAMME FOR ACCELERATED PROSECUTION (“PACE”) – WAYS OF ACCELERATING PROSECUTION AT THE EPO


As reported in our IP alert of July 2014, the EPO has introduced a new prosecution scheme called “Early Certainty from Search” or, in shorthand, “ECfS”. With ECfS, priority is given to the preparation and issuance of search reports.

As part of the new ECfS scheme, the EPO has now revised its programme for accelerated prosecution, known by the acronym PACE. The corresponding information from the EPO can be found here. Overall, it appears that this revision is rather an update and clarification on the PACE programme. Indeed, there do not seem to be any major changes. The following appears to be worth mentioning:

1. As before, there is no official fee associated with a PACE request;


2. A request for a term extension in an application that is prosecuted under the PACE programme immediately terminates accelerated prosecution and this application can normally not again benefit from the PACE programme;

3. A single PACE request can only cover a single application. An applicant filing PACE requests for a large number of applications will be requested to make a specific selection;

4. Under PACE, a search report is normally issued within six months, and substantive office actions within three months.

The PACE programme revision will enter into force on 1 January 2016. For additional ways of expediting prosecution at the EPO, please consult the corresponding latest EPO notice.
 

This is only a short overview. For further details and legal advice, please contact us (Fabian Lieb).

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