The patentability of biotech inventions should meet substantive requirements such as novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability, but EPO developments suggest that formalities are increasingly important.
The rules for filing European divisional applications have been drastically limited for applicants for two years.
Since April 1, 2010, the rules for filing a European divisional patent application have been restricted—rules 36(1)(a) and 36(1) (b). Under rule 36(1)(a), an applicant has 24 months to file a European divisional calculated from the first European office action of the earliest application, the so-called ‘voluntary divisional’.
invention, biotechnology, EPO, industrial applicability