As many of you know, April 1, 2010 ushered in numerous changes affecting PCT applications in the EPO. One such change involved the timing for filing a divisional off of a parent application.
Prior to April 1, 2010, an applicant could file a divisional application anytime throughout the pendency of the parent. Under the new EPO rules, a divisional application now must be filed within 2 years of the issuance of the Examining Division’s first communication. If a later communication contains a non-unity objection, the applicant has 2 years from the date of that communication to file a divisional. Therefore, the deadline for filing divisional applications may now arrive much earlier than the issuance of the parent application.
For cases that were pending on April 1, 2010, the EPO provided a grace period that permits divisional applications to be filed up to October 1, 2010, even if that date is beyond the 2-year anniversary of the first communication.
Therefore, if you haven’t already, review your patent portfolio and get those divisionals filed!