Changes have been made by the European Patent Office in relation to the rules which determine when and under what circumstance a divisional application can be made.
These new rule will be effectual from the 1st April 2010.
The Main Changes
From the 1st April 2010 divisional applications can only be filed provided that one of the following conditions are met:
A divisional applicant must file their divisional application within 24 months, this 24 month period begins from the point of the first communication of the Examining Division in relation to the earlier application were such a communication has been issued.
Where the Examining Division has stated that the earlier application does not meet the requirements under Article 82 of the European Patent Convention and that specific object was made for the first time, then the divisional application must be made within 24 months.
The decision of the Administrative Council can be accessed at: <http://www.epo.org/patents/law/legal-texts/decisions/archive/20090325.html>.