The EPO announced earlier this year a series of amendments to the rules relating to fees, which will come into force on 1 April 2018. These changes are discussed in our earlier news item here.
One of the changes is a reduction in the filing and grant fees for European patent applications when certain requirements relating to the format of files submitted by online filing are satisfied. However, these reductions will not in fact be available from 1 April 2018. That is because the EPO has not yet decided upon the specific conditions under which the reductions will be available and has also not made the necessary changes to its online filing software.
We understand that the EPO expects to decide upon the conditions that need to be satisfied in order to secure the reduction, and to make the corresponding changes to its online filing software, by July 2018.
Although the EPO has not yet finalised the requirements for obtaining the fee reduction, at present it seems that a Word version of the specification will be needed to secure the reduction. Accordingly, clients interested in obtaining the fee reduction are encouraged to send Word versions of the specification to us routinely with instructions to file new European patent applications, so that we are able in due course to obtain the reductions in the filing and grant fees as soon as they become available.