Clock Ticking on European Patent Office Divisionals
The European Patent Office (“EPO”) has changed its rules for filing Divisional applications. Previously, divisional applications could be filed from any pending European application. Now, the deadline for filing voluntary divisional applications is 24 months from the date of the first official communication by the Examining Division. Note that search reports and search opinions do not trigger the 24 month period because they are issued by the Search Division, not the Examining Division. Also note that a new unity of invention objection establishes a new 24 month period for filing a divisional application.
For pending applications for which the 24 month period has expired or expires before October 1, 2010, the deadline for filing a divisional application will be extended to October 1, 2010. Please let us know if you would like for us to review your European patent portfolio before the October 1, 2010 deadline. Additionally, if you have a European case of particular importance and would like more information regarding filing a divisional application, please let us know that as well.
Click here for related information regarding changes to EPO patent practice