This will be old news for some more well-connected readers, but the IPKat has only just seen a proposal, submitted by the President of the EPO for consideration by the Committee on Patent Law and decision by the EPO Administrative Council, relating to how alleged 'abusive' practices on filing divisional applications might be tackled. The full document can be accessed via Laurent Teyssedre's blog here. The key feature of the proposal involves the following amended version of Rule 36 EPC:
1) The applicant may file a divisional application relating to any pending earlier European patent application, provided that:Laurent thinks that this is likely to be replaced by a revised version, to be submitted for review shortly. The IPKat suspects, however, that any amendments will be in the form, rather than the substance, of the above proposal, given the EPO's clear desire to crack down on divisional applications following the emphatic decision of G 1/05.
(a) the divisional application is filed before the expiry of a time limit of 24 months from the Examining Division's first communication in respect of the earliest application for which a communication has been issued, or
(b) the divisional application is filed before the expiry of a time limit of 24 months from a communication in which the Examining Division has objected that the earlier application does not meet the requirements of Article 82 EPC.