Today the European Patent Office (EPO) announced that as of April 1, 2014, it will repeal the current 24-month time limit for filing divisional applications. Applicants will once again be able to file divisional applications at any time from a pending EP application. One caveat is that the fees for filing divisionals may increase for any second and subsequent generation divisional applications. These fees have yet to be made public.
Impact on Client Portfolios
Any EP application that is pending (not granted, refused or abandoned) on or after April 1, 2014 can be used as the basis for a divisional application, even if the current two-year limit has expired. We therefore suggest that companies review their EP patent portfolios to identify any pending EP applications on which it may be desirable to file a divisional application, but on which the current two-year time limit has expired, as there may be value in keeping these applications pending until after April 1, 2014.