For European patent applications filed on or after 1 July 2014 (including PCT applications entering the European phase where the EPO did not act as (S)ISA) the EPO strives to issue the extended/partial European search report within six months from the filing date or from expiry of the period under Rule 161(2). Hence, no PACE request is needed.
For European patent applications (including PCT applications entering the European phase where the EPO did not act as (S)ISA) which were filed before 1 July 2014 and which do claim priority (second filings), on receipt of a PACE request the EPO makes every effort to issue the extended/partial European search report within six months from receipt of the request.
Without prejudice to the above an accelerated search can only start:
(i)after receipt of the applicant's response to a communication under Rule 62a or Rule 63, or expiry of the respective time limit;
(ii)in all cases: when the application documents on filing are complete enough for the extended search report to be drawn up. That means, in particular, that the accelerated search can only start once the claims, the description, the translations required and, where applicable, the drawings and a sequence listing conforming to the rules for the standardised representation of nucleotide or amino acid sequences have been filed;
(iii)for PCT applications entering the European phase where the EPO did not act as (S)ISA: after expiry of the six-month period under Rule 161(2), even if acceleration has been requested under the PACE programme. In order for the supplementary European search to start immediately, on entry into the European phase the applicant must explicitly waive the right to communications pursuant to Rules 161(2) and 162(2) and pay any claims fees due (see the notice from the EPO dated 30 November 2015, OJ EPO 2015, A93).
If the EPO has invited the applicant to pay further search fee(s) under Rule 64(1), second sentence, or Rule 164(1)(b), the final search report under Rule 64(1), last sentence, or Rule 164(1)(c) cannot be drawn up until the applicant's response to the invitation to pay further search fee(s) has been received or until the respective time limit has expired.