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Official fee changes – April 2018

Both the EPO and the UK IPO have modified their fees from this April. The EPO has attempted to reduce the cost burden to applicants, notably avoiding inflationary increases. This is good news.

The fee structure at the UK IPO has changed to include excess page and claim fees. These fees will be familiar to users of the EPO, but the UK IPO is more generous in how it applies these fees, as explained below. In general, fee levels at the UK IPO remain very low and a UK patent still represents excellent value.

EPO

International applications which have not yet entered the European regional phase will no longer be able to benefit from a reduction in the search fee of 190 EUR. This was previously available for those Euro-PCT applications which had been searched in the international phase by the national patent office in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Russia or the US. The search fee for Euro-PCT applications where the EPO is not the international searching authority is 1300 EUR.

An additional reduction is now available where the EPO has drawn up an international preliminary examination report. The examination fee for such Euro-PCT applications filed from April will be reduced by 75%.

Further reductions of 100 EUR have been applied at the EPO for new international applications in respect of the PCT search fee (now 1775 EUR) and preliminary examination fee (now 1830 EUR).

The fee for an appeal remains at 1880 EUR for entities referred to in Rule 6(4) EPC, including SMEs, individuals and non-profit organisations. However, for all other applicants, the appeal fee has increased to 2255 EUR.

UK IPO

The electronic filing fee has increased to £60, with a 25% surcharge if not paid on filing. Small increases of £20 have been applied to both the search fee (now £150) and the examination fee (now £100).

The more significant changes relate to the introduction of excess claim and page fees. A fee of £20 per claim is now payable for each claim over 25. This fee is payable together with the search fee. Compared to the EPO, the UK IPO allows an additional ten claims before fees are payable, and the rate of the excess claim fee is significantly less than at the EPO.

An excess page fee of £10 per page over 35 is now payable as part of the examination fee.

Renewal fees have also increased slightly, with an additional £10 being added to the fees for years 12 to 20.

A comparison table is available on the UK IPO’s website here.