Divisionals as prior art


Jens Rasmussen and Nils Tarras-Wahlberg

The European Patent Convention (EPC) gives an applicant the possibility of dividing a pending European application by filing one or more divisional applications, which can be divided further.

The European application can be a European direct application (EP application) or a European part of an International application (Euro-PCT application). The divisional applications take over the effective date of the earlier application or earliest application in a line of divisional applications.

Divisional applications may be of interest as they give the applicant a possibility of protecting those parts of the invention disclosed in the application as filed, including non-searched subject matter, specific embodiments not covered by the scope of claims of the parent application, and claims that have to be removed from the parent application due to lack of unity.

To target a patent application against an infringing party, it is also possible to reduce the scope of the claims of the parent patent application, which it is hoped will lead to a faster-granted patent covering the potentially infringing product. A divisional application can be filed maintaining claims with broader scope of protection.

Divisionals, prior art, EPC, EPO, EP application