1. Under Rule 36(1)(a) EPC in the version in force since 1 April 2010, a divisional application (voluntary division) may be filed only before the expiry of a time limit of twenty-four months from the examining division's first communication under Article 94(3) and Rule 71(1) and (2) or under Rule 71(3) EPC in respect of the earliest application for which a communication has been issued. 1
2. For such communications produced on or after 18 April 2011, the associated forms (EPO Forms 2001, 2001A and 2004) will clearly indicate that the communication marks the start of the above time limit. A separate notification (EPO Form 1230) is issued at the same time in respect of each divisional appli- cation derived directly from the earliest application for which a communication was issued, indicating that the notifica- tion of this first communication marks the start of the period for voluntary division. 2
3. In addition, the date of despatch of the examining division's first communication within the meaning of Rule 36(1)(a) EPC will be entered in the European Patent Register. Communications issued before
1 See decision of the Administrative Council of 25 March 2009 amending the Implementing Regulations to the European Patent Conven- tion (CA/D 2/09), OJ EPO 2009, 296, and deci- sion of the Administrative Council of 26 October 2010 amending Rule 36 of the Implementing Regulations to the European Patent Conven- tion (CA/D 16/10), OJ EPO 2010, 568. 2 See Guidelines for Examination A-IV, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
the entry into force of the relevant deci- sion 3 in respect of pending applications will also be recorded. The entry will be made both in respect of the earliest application for which the communication was issued and in respect of divisional applications derived directly therefrom.
3 See decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 December 2010 concerning the information given in the European Patent Register, OJ EPO 2011, 110.
Date retrieved: May 20, 2014