A divisional application is an application that originates from a previously filed application, known as a parent application. A divisional application inherits the parent’s application priority and filing date.
Divisional applications can arise from several scenarios, but they ultimately occur due to there being more than one invention or inventive concept in a single application.
Multiple divisional applications may be filed from a single parent application. At least in Europe and the UK, a divisional application may become a parent application to a further divisional application.
When can a divisional application be filed?
A divisional application must typically be filed while the parent application remains pending – that is, before it grants, is refused, or is withdrawn or deemed to be withdrawn.
What is the form of a divisional application?
A divisional application typically has the same description as the parent application as filed, but with a different set of claims. It is normal practice when filing a divisional to also keep the original parent claims in the description, as clauses. No new subject-matter that is not present in the parent application may be added to a divisional application.
Prosecution of a divisional application
Divisional applications, once filed, are searched and examined in the same manner as a regular patent application. In some jurisdictions, such as before the European Patent Office, the search fee paid in respect of a divisional application may be partially or fully refunded depending on the extent to which the search on the parent application may be used.