Changes to fees at the EPO

Posted in European Patents on by Admin

The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced a series of fee changes that will come into effect on 1 April 2018. These are not inflation-based fee changes, but changes designed to better reflect the expenses of the EPO. As such, not all of the fees will change and some will be reduced.

The biggest change is to the appeal fee which will now be split into two tiers. The first tier will apply to natural persons, small and medium sized enterprises, non-profits, universities and public research organisations who will continue to pay €1,880 (the same appeal fee as before the changes). The second tier will apply to all other entities who will be charged the increased fee of €2,255.

To qualify for the lower fee, it will be necessary to file a statement indicating that the appellant is entitled to do so. The appellant’s status when filing the appeal is the relevant status.

Other changes include:
• The €190 fee reduction in the supplementary search fee for applications where the International Search Report was prepared by the Australian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian or US patent office will no longer be available.
• The reduction in the examination fee due on a European Regional Phase application for which the EPO prepared an International Preliminary Examination report has been increased from 50% to 75% (a reduction from €1825 to €1369).
• The fee for an international search (and for a supplementary international search) on an international application will be reduced from €1,875 to €1,775.
• The fee for preliminary examination of an international application will be reduced from €1,930 to €1,830.

At some point in the future there will also be a reduction in the filing, transmittal and grant fees if the application and any relevant documents are submitted in certain formats, once the technology for accepting these formats is made available at the EPO. Fees for applications not filed online (or for applications filed online but with more than one document not in the prescribed format) will increase to €250.

Finally, it will be possible to pay the third year renewal fee up to six months before it falls due. In some cases, this may make it possible for applicants who have filed a PCT application to pay the third year renewal fee upon entry into the European Regional Phase. However, it will still be possible to pay the fee closer to the due date where applicants prefer to do so.