The news section of the European Patent Office website www.epo.org notes today that an amendment of the provisions of the European Patent Convention dealing with the requirements for the filing of divisional applications has been adopted.
The decision enters into force on 1st April 2014 and will apply to divisional applications filed on or after that date. It enables the filing of divisional applications as long as the earlier (parent) application is pending. The 24-month time limits for the filing of divisional applications which were introduced in 2010 are repealed.
However, the situation is not identical to that pre-2010. In order to dissuade applicants from filing a never-ending chain of divisional applications, there will be an additional fee for the filing of divisional applications in respect of earlier divisional applications (i.e. second and further generation divisional) from 1st April 2014.