As reported in October here, from today, 1 April 2014, the deadline for filing divisional patent applications at the EPO (European Patent Office) will no longer apply.
The rule setting the deadline was introduced in 2010 but was unpopular with applicants. After a period of consultation, the EPO decided to scrap the rule and return Rule 36 to a form closer to that prevailing before the 2010 change.
From now on, it will be possible to divide any pending European patent application. An application ceases to be pending on the date it is granted, refused or deemed withdrawn. Thus, in most cases the effective deadline for filing divisional applications will be the day before the date of grant.
Also applicable from 1 April 2014 is a new fee for filing divisional applications that are themselves divided from a divisional application. The new fee is payable as part of the filing fee and is dependent on the generation of the divisional application being filed. A second generation divisional application is one which is divided from a divisional application, which is itself divided from a non-divisional application. The new fees are as follows:
- fee for a divisional application of second generation: EUR 210
- fee for a divisional application of third generation: EUR 420
- fee for a divisional application of fourth generation: EUR 630
- fee for a divisional application of fifth or any subsequent generation: EUR 840
There is no additional fee for a divisional application of first generation (i.e. a divisional application divided from a non-divisional application).
For more information on the fee increases that came into effect on 1 April 2014, see here.