Changes in the EPC effective April 1, 2010
Effective April 1, 2010 the Implementing Regulations of the EPC will be amended. Thereby, the possibility for filing divisional applications will be limited in time. According to amended Rule 36(1) EPC, then, a divisional application can be filed to any pending earlier European patent application only if
a) the divisional application is filed before the expiry of a time limit of 24 months from the examining division’s first communication in respect of the earliest application for which a communication has been issued, or
b) the divisional application is filed before the expiry of a time limit of 24 months from any communication in which the examining division has objected that the earlier application does not meet the requirements of Article 82, provided it has raised that specific objection for the first time.
If the time limits provided for in amended Rule 36(1) EPC have expired before April 1, 2010, a divisional application may still be filed within six months of that date. If they are still running on April 1, 2010, they will continue to do so for not less than six months.