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Guidelines for Examination

When may a divisional application be filed? 

With regard to when a divisional application may be filed, there are two requirements which must be met:

the application to be divided (the "parent" application on which the divisional is based) must be pending (see A-IV,, and
at least one of the following two periods must not yet have expired:  
the period for voluntary division under Rule 36(1)(a) (see A-IV,
the period for mandatory division under Rule 36(1)(b), where applicable (see A-IV,

The term "earlier application" in Rule 36(1) refers to the immediate parent application on which the divisional application is based. This term is distinct from the term "earliest application" also appearing in Rule 36(1), although in the case of a first-generation divisional application (where the immediate parent is not itself a divisional) they both refer to the same application.