The European Patent Office (EPO) have announced that the official fees charged for European patent applications will be increasing from 1 April 2014.
Most official fees are increasing by around 4%, although certain fees are subject to higher increases. For example, the appeal fee is increasing by 50%, the search fee is increasing by over 10% and the fee for additional pages is increasing by over 7%.
As the search fee and additional page fee are typically payable on new European patent applications and PCT applications entering the European regional phase, applicants could save costs by filing European cases early (i.e. before 1 April 2014) to avoid the fee increases. Costs can also be saved by paying any outstanding examination and designation fees before 1 April 2014.
Although the appeal fee is increasing significantly, the EPO are also introducing new measures that will allow a 50% refund of the appeal fee if the appeal is withdrawn before a decision has been rendered.
The EPO is introducing a new additional fee for divisional applications that are themselves divided out of a divisional application. The EPO are also scrapping the deadlines for filing divisional applications that were introduced in 2010 and, after 1 April 2014, it will once again be possible to divide any pending European patent application.
For those of our clients who use CPA to pay EPO annuities, to secure the lower fee payment rate, CPA will pay any annuities due before the end of June 2014 prior to 1 April 2014 provided that they receive positive instructions to pay the annuity by 15 March 2014.
If you would like to file a case early to secure the lower rates, or make a fee payment early on an existing case, please contact your normal J A Kemp attorney.