From 1st April 2014, the EPO will cancel the two year period, calculated from the date of the first communication from the examining division, restricting the time period in which voluntary divisional applications can be filed. As a result, it will again be possible to file a divisional application at any time while the parent application or other divisional application in a patent family is pending.
However, to discourage applicants from filing a ‘cascade’ of divisional applications, keeping provisional protection pending indefinitely, the EPO has introduced an increased filing fee for each generation of divisional application filed after the first.
There is no additional fee for filing a divisional application divided from a parent application. For each subsequent generation of divisional application, however, the following fees apply.
- Fee for a divisional application of second generation €210.
- Fee for a divisional application of third generation €420.
- Fee for a divisional application of fourth generation €630.
- Fee for a divisional application of fifth or any subsequent generation €840.
The additional fees for the filing of a divisional application will be a relatively small part of the other official fees payable on filing a European patent application, such as filing, search, examination, designation, and renewal fees incurred back to the filing date of the parent application. Additionally, it would appear possible to avoid paying the additional fees altogether, providing the parent application is still pending, and it is still possible to file a ‘first generation’ divisional application.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking before any action in reliance on it.