European Patent Office (EPO) opens consultation on time periods for filing divisional applications

In 2010 the EPO introduced rules relating to 24-month time limits for the filing of divisional applications.  This was the EPO’s attempt to avoid divisional applications being used prolong the pendency of patent applications before the EPO. 

The rule changes have attracted wide ranging criticisms from users.  The calculation and triggering of the time limits are complex to calculate.  An even further layer of complexity was introduced when the EPO introduced a Notice in December 2012 advising that a certain communication from the EPO did not actually trigger the divisional time limit.  

The EPO wishes to give all interested parties a say in the course it should take regarding the conditions for filing divisional applications.  Users are being invited to (anonymously) submit their views online here.  The consulation will expire on 5 April 2013. 
The EPO expects that the outcome of this process will enable them to decide whether to make a proposal for a further amendment of Rule 36 EPC.  Hopefully, this will bring some long overdue clarification to this complicated set of rules.   


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