The European Patent Office (EPO) has established a new practice of issuing a second written opinion before giving a negative International Preliminary Examination Report (IPER).
PCT rule 66.4(a) permits an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) to issue one or more additional written opinions. The European Patent Office issued a notice dated 31-August-2011 of revision to its practice pursuant to rule 66.4. The new procedure provides applicants another opportunity to obtain a positive IPER before entering national stage.
The notice states that "[t]he new practice applies to international applications for which, pursuant to Rule 69.2 PCT, the time limit for establishing the IPER expires on or after 1 December 2011 unless the IPER is established before 1 October 2011." Details on this new practice can be found on the EPO website here.