Divisional applications are searched, published and examined in the same way as other European patent applications.
The search fee is refunded if the conditions of Art. 9(2) of the Rules relating to Fees are met (see the Notice from the President of the EPO dated 13 December 2001, OJ EPO 2002, 56, for divisional applications filed before 1 July 2005, the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 14 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, M.2, for divisional applications filed on or after 1 July 2005 for which the search is completed before 1 April 2009, the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 22 December 2008, OJ EPO 2009, 96, for divisional applications for which the search is completed on or after 1 April 2009 but before 1 July 2010, and the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 21 February 2014, OJ EPO 2014, A2917 November 2017, OJ EPO 2017, A94, for divisional applications for which the search is completed on or after 1 July 2014December 2017). Here, the term "filed" refers to the date on which the divisional application is received at the EPO, not the filing date, which is the same as the filing date for the parent application (Art. 76(1)).
The divisional application is published in accordance with Art. 93(1). The filing or priority date taken for calculation of the eighteen-month period for publication is the date of filing or the earliest priority date claimed (see A‑IV, 1.2.1). Since this period has usually already expired when the divisional application is filed, the technical preparations for publication are completed as soon as all formal requirements with respect to the divisional application have been fulfilled. The applicant is informed of the intended publication date (see also A‑VI, 1.1).
The time limit for filing the request for examination begins to run with the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the search report concerning the divisional application.