Site icon Duncan Bucknell

Sense prevails in EPO Divisionals practice

The IPKat brings news of a recent European Patent Office Enlarged Board of Appeals decision which determined the extent to which Divisional Patent applications can be narrowed, even after the parent application has lapsed.

The result makes inherent sense – Divisionals can be narrowed, even if the parent has lapsed and the normal rules of amendment apply as they would to non-Divisionals. Put another way – patentees can feel confident to file European Divisionals with broader disclosure than the parent, now knowing that later narrowing amendments will be allowed.

European Divisionals can been used to great strategic effect (to have a second bite of the prosecution cherry, to buy time, etc.) and are part of normal practice before many patent offices. There seems to me to be scant justification to treat them any differently to the parent.

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