3.6.1 Changes to Implementing Regulations

In the original version of R. 25 EPC 1973 of 1.10.1988, a divisional application could be filed only up to the date on which the applicant approved the text in which the patent was to be granted under R. 51(4) EPC 1973 (in the version which entered into force on 1.09.1987). For a brief overview of the case law in respect of the version of 1.10.1988 see "Case Law of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO", 6th edition 2010, p. 389-390. Under R. 25(1) EPC 1973 in the amended version of 2.1.2002, the applicant could file a divisional application in respect of any pending earlier European patent application (see "Case Law of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO", 6th edition 2010, p. 390-391). This requirement of pendency was adopted into R. 36(1) EPC. Between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2014, R. 36(1) EPC additionally required that the divisional application must be filed within the time limits laid down in R. 36(1)(a) and (b) EPC. The nature of the communication starting the time limit for voluntary division (R. 36(1)(a) EPC) was specified with effect from 26 October 2010. The requirements under R. 36(1)(a) and (b) EPC were removed in the amended version of R. 36(1) EPC which entered into force on 1 April 2014.

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