Deadlines for Filing EPO Divisionals : EPO to remove the current time limit

October 2013

HGF has received confirmation today from the European Patent Office (EPO) Patent Law Directorate that the Rule that sets the deadline for filing divisional applications is to be changed.   

From 1 April 2014, any divisional applications filed on or after that date, may be filed as long as the earlier application is still pending. Currently, this is limited to 24 months from the first communication from the EPO Examining Division. This change follows on from the EPO consultation in respect of Rule 36, in which the responses were overwhelmingly in favour of this change.   

It should be noted an additional fee (as yet unknown, but probably quite punitive) will be charged in the case of divisional applications that are themselves a divisional application of an earlier parent application (second or subsequent generation).  There is no suggestion that first generation divisionals will be penalised.   

This is good news for applicants and attorneys alike.  It seems that the filing of divisional applications will now be possible at any time until grant, as was the case before the Rule 36, 24 month deadline, was created   

We will follow up with more details as soon as we have then, but in the meantime, if you would like any further information about any implications this change may have, the please contact your usual HGF attorney.