April 16, 2010
Posted by Mark Reichel / 10:43 AM /
On April 1, 2010, a series of patent practice changes at the European Patent Office (EPO) took effect, including new search and examination rules, as well as new timelines for filing divisional applications. As noted in a recent summary announcement (available HERE), the EPO notes that the changes "relate to the filing of divisional applications, pre-search communication between examiner and applicant, obligatory response to the search opinion prior to entry into substantive examination, a requirement for applicants to identify and indicate the basis for amendments and a clearer restriction of examination only to the subject matter searched." A summary entitled "Realigning the European patent grant procedure" (available HERE) is also provided by the EPO, as is a Web page with links to each rule change (available HERE) and a Web page entitled "New edition of the EPO Guidelines for Examination" (available HERE) with several embedded links. I personally have received a number of notices from my European agents advising me of these changes. If you manage an international portfolio with pending European applications and have not been advised by your respective agents, consider reaching out to them so that they can advise as to any deadlines or practice changes that may impact your pending portfolio.