This week, over protests from European patent practitioners, the EPO decided to add new limitations on when a divisional application may be filed, beginning next April. Of late, the EPO has become increasingly hostile towards what it regards as “abusive” filing of divisionals—practices such as repeatedly re-filing a divisional patent applications to avoid the effects of a rejection, or filing a divisional before an allowed application issues to pursue broader claims than were allowed.
Starting April 1st of this year, the European Patent Office (“EPO”) phases in the second of its fee increases. This increase threatens to have serious financial impacts for patent applicants, especially for startups needing to conserve cash. If you are considering applying for the benefits of patent protection in Europe, or already have an application in progress, there are some things you can do now.