The UKIPO has announced a change in practice in respect of extensions to the compliance period for divisional patent applications. As from Monday 1 May 2023, the UKIPO will no longer apply an extended compliance deadline of a parent case to divisional patent applications. Instead the original unextended deadline will apply for divisional patent applications. This effectively shortens the compliance period of divisional patent applications by 2 months, making it even more important to promptly file GB divisional patent applications, rather than letting the case approach the compliance deadline of the parent, and using an eaxtension to the compliance deadline on the parent to buy more time for such divisionals.

Extensions to the compliance period will still be possible on each of the parent and divisional  patent applications, but they won't stack on the divisional patent application.

This change will only apply to divisional patent applications filed after Friday 28th April 2023, so existing divisionals are unaffected.

In case you were wondering, the "compliance period" is a period set by the UK Patents Act for putting your patent application into order for grant, after which, if not in order for grant, the patent application may be refused by the comptroller. Usually it is a period of 4 years and 6 months from the filing date (or the priority date), or, if later, a period of twelve months beginning immediately after the date on which the first substantive examination report is sent to the applicant (usually on the parent case). 

The period can be extended by at least 2 months upon request, but is nevertheless an important time period to monitor and respect, as it cannot be extended indefinitely. 

For more information on the compliance deadline, see here: 

From Monday 1 May 2023, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will no longer accord divisional applications a compliance period equal to the compliance period of the parent application as extended under r.108(2)/r.108(3) of the Patents Rules 2007 (as amended).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.