European Patent Office to Abolish Divisional Deadline

October 21, 2013

The European Patent Office has announced that the 24 month deadline for filing divisional patent applications will no longer apply from 1st April 2014.

The European Patent Office has announced that the current rules on when a divisional patent application may be filed are being changed. At present, Rule 36 EPC states that a divisional application may be filed from a pending European patent application within: a) 24 months of the examining division’s first communication under Article 94(3) EPC or Rule 71(3) EPC in respect of the earliest application for which a communication has been issued, or b) 24 months of any communication in which the examining division has objected that the earlier application does not comply with the unity of invention requirement under Article 82 EPC. Under the new rules, which enter into force on 1st April 2014, the above time limits will be abolished. A divisional application can simply be filed from any pending earlier application. An additional fee will be present as part of the filing fee for divisional applications of second or subsequent generation. This fee will grow progressively with each subsequent generation up to a certain level, and will then become a flat fee. The announcement from the European Patent Office can be found here. If you have any questions concerning this change in law, please get in touch with your usual contact at Swindell & Pearson Ltd or Christine Anglesea at [email protected].

Swindell & Pearson has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 130 years. With its head office in Derby, the firm also has offices in Stoke, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Sheffield and Burton. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you with any intellectual property requirements please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.