Rule 36(1)(b) states that the applicant may file a divisional application relating to any pending earlier European application provided that the divisional application is filed before the expiry of a time limit of twenty-four months from any communication in which the Examining Division has objected for the first time that the earlier application does not meet the requirements of unity (Art. 82) (see A‑IV, 1 and sub-sections).
If a non-unity objection under Art. 82 is raised for the first time in the oral proceedings, the date of notification of the minutes of the oral proceedings marks the start of the 24-month period for mandatory division under Rule 36(1)(b) (see A‑IV, 18.104.22.168). The minutes of the oral proceedings should indicate either that this non-unity objection has been raised for the first time or that it is the first time that a different/new non-unity objection is being raised.
It should be noted that notification of the summons to oral proceedings also marks the start of the 24-month period for mandatory division under Rule 36(1)(b), provided that the unity objection is raised for the first time in the summons.