A divisional application may be filed relating to any pending earlier European patent application. A divisional application filed on the same day as the parent application is not considered as validly filed. The term "earlier application" is understood to mean an application filed at least one day before the divisional application and refers to the immediate application on which the divisional application is based ("parent application"). Where the earlier application is a Euro-PCT application, a divisional application can only be filed upon effective entry of the earlier application into the European phase (see E‑IX, 2.4.1).
The divisional application is accorded the same date of filing as the parent application and has the benefit of any right of priority of the parent application in respect of the subject-matter contained in the divisional application (see A‑IV, 1.2.1).
A European patent application may give rise to more than one divisional application. A divisional application may itself give rise to one or more divisional applications.
Where a divisional application is deemed not to have been validly filed due to non-fulfilment of one of the filing conditions (see also A‑IV, 1.1.1 and 1.1.3), the applicant will be duly informed in a communication pursuant to Rule 112(1) stating that the application will not be processed as a European divisional application and providing the opportunity to apply for a decision on the EPO's findings under Rule 112(2) (see E‑VIII, 1.9.3). Any fees paid will be refunded if the loss of rights becomes final.