Posted on 31/1/2023

Shortened compliance period for UK divisional applications

Changes to UK divisional applications will take place from 1 May 2023.

The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced that from 1 May 2023 divisional applications filed at the Office will be accorded a compliance period which is the same as the original and un-extended compliance period of the parent application.

This means that the compliance period for both parent and divisional applications is either (i) four years and six months form the earliest priority date, or the filing date where no priority is claimed, or (ii) 12 months from the date the first examination report is issued for the parent application, irrespective of whether the compliance period for the parent application has been extended.

Under this new practice, the latest date an applicant can file a divisional application without relying on discretionary extensions of time is one month before the expiry of the unextended compliance date of the parent application. However, if an applicant is able to obtain a discretionary extension of time, then a divisional application can be filed up to two months after the expiry of the unextended compliance date of the parent application.

As a consequence of the shortened compliance period for divisional applications, an applicant will now need to carefully consider whether there is sufficient time to file and prosecute a divisional application to grant, especially if the applicant is contemplating filing a divisional application close to the end of the compliance period of the parent application.

Therefore, where possible, an applicant should consider filing a divisional application as early as possible to maximise the time available to them to complete prosecution of the application. If you have any questions about divisional applications, please contact one of our team.

Wilson Gunn