Editor's note: The following notice was reprinted with permission from Forresters.
Our August 2013 News item: "EPO divisional deadline U-turn in the offing..." seems prescient. We now learn that the EPO has made formal proposals to remove the current two-year time limit for filing divisionals.
Instead, the EPO proposes that applicants can file divisionals (and divisionals from divisionals) for as long as the original application is pending. The EPO also wants to increase the filing fee for second and subsequent generation divisionals.
The proposals aim for 1 April 2014 to formulate and introduce appropriate amended rules. Under the current proposals, applicants with a pending application (not granted, refused or abandoned) on 1 April 2014, can use it as the basis for a divisional application, even if the current two year limit has expired.
We recommend that you identify currently pending European patent applications where the divisional due date has expired, or will do before 1 April 2014. If you are still interested in filing a divisional from any of these, you should slow prosecution as much as you can. There are techniques enabling you to draw out EPO procedures, and we would be pleased to advise you on those.