A number of changes to the EPO fees came into force on 1 April 2018. The key changes are summarised below.
Expansion of window in which 3rd year renewal fee can be paid
- Rule 51(3) EPC has been amended so that it is now possible to pay the third year renewal fee up to six months before it falls due. This means that for international applications, it may be possible to pay the third year renewal fee on entry into the European regional phase.
- This rule change applies only to the third year renewal fee. All other renewal fees may not validly be paid more than three months before they fall due.
Changes to EPO Appeal Fees
- The appeal fee has been increased by roughly 20% to €2255.
- However, a reduced appeal fee has been introduced for appeals filed by natural persons, small- or medium-sized enterprises, non-profit organizations, universities and public research organizations. The appeal fee for these entities remains at €1880.
Fees for PCT applications entering the European Regional Phase
- The €190 reduction in the search fee for the supplementary European search for PCT applications where the international search report (ISR) was drawn up by the US, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian or Australian patent offices has been abrogated. This means that the supplementary search fee will be the same for all cases where the EPO is not the ISA.
- The reduction in the examination fee due on entry to the European regional phase when the EPO has drawn up an international preliminary examination report has been increased from 50% to 75%.
Fees for PCT applications during the International Phase
- The international search fee has been reduced from €1875 to €1775.
- The preliminary examination fee has been reduced from €1930 to €1830.
Incentives for using character-coded format
- In order to encourage the use of the character-coded format (e.g. DOCX/XML) when filing documents online, the EPO will be offering a reduction in certain fees when all relevant documents are filed in character-coded format. For example, for a reduction in the filing fee, the description, claims, drawings and abstract must be filed online in character-coded format.
- As technical preparations for the use of character-coded format are still ongoing at the EPO, these fee reductions are not yet available. However, the EPO have indicated that they will be implemented once the systems for filing in character-coded format have been rolled out.
If you have any questions about the above changes, please feel free to contact with us.