Home » Patents » EPO Divisional Rule Change – 1 April 2014

EPO Divisional Rule Change – 1 April 2014

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epologoAs has been reported here and elsewhere the EPO is to change its rules governing the filing of divisional applications with effect from 1 April 2014.

This rule change follows a consultation that ran during March 2013. Although the consultation can still be accessed on the EPO website (here) it is noticeable that the EPO has not published a summary of responses to their “Completed Consultations” page.

Recently however Heli Pihlajamaa, Director of Patent Law at the European Patent Office, spoke in a live webinar session on the new rules and links to the presentation and the video of the seminar have appeared on the EPO website (though for some reason the link to the video recording has subsequently been taken down).

The presentation includes a graph showing user’s views on the current (24 month) divisional rule.

EPO Divisional Consultation


Before it got removed from the site I had a chance to watch some of the video presentation which indicated that under 7% of respondents to the consultation provided a positive assessment to the current divisional rules. That equates to around 20 people by our reckoning out of about 300 though I’m sure some of you are thinking that the figure actually seems quite high!

The top two flaws identified with the current (24 month) regime were:

  • It forces applicants to decide too early on whether to file a divisional application, and
  • It forces applicants to file precautionary divisional applications

The presentation also includes a helpful graphic explaining what first, second, third generation divisional applications are.

EPO Divisional Consultation 2


The EPO’s OJ notice (OJ EPO 2014, A22) concerning divisional applications can be found here. It is noted that EPO Form 1001 is to be amended and will include a new section that will allow applicants to indicate the generation of the divisional that they are applying for. [ipcopy wonders what, if any, the sanction will be if applicants tick the incorrect box?]

Mark Richardson 28 March 2014

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