April 01, 2020

EPO introduces new Fee Schedule

The European Patent Office (EPO) follows the tradition of updating its Fee Schedule every two years on April 1, and this year is no exception. The changes were first announced in the Official Journal published in January 2020. According to the Decision of the Administrative Council of 12 December 2019, the fees will undergo minor amendments not exceeding a 4%-5% increase on average.

Filing Fees

The filing of an application with the EPO will cost applicants between 5-10 euros more depending on the filing method (online, in character-coded format or on paper) as compared to the previous Fee Schedule. The fee charged for the filing of a European patent application and any supporting documents in character-coded format (e.g. XML) has been increased from EUR 90 to EUR 95. The simple online filing fee has seen the same change rising from EUR 120 to EUR 125, whilst the fee prescribed for all other cases now constitutes EUR 260 instead of EUR 250. An additional fee for applications comprising more than 35 pages has inflated from EUR 15 per page to EUR 16 per page.

The designation fee for all Contracting States usually paid by the applicant at the time of filing amounts to EUR 610 as compared to the previous fee of EUR 585, constituting a difference of EUR 20.

Examination Fees

Examination fees have experienced the same 4% increase, reflecting changes that amount to EUR 65 for applications filed on or after July 1, 2005. The current fee constitutes EUR 1700 while the previous fee was EUR 1635.

Grant Fees

The grant fee has been affected similarly increasing by almost 4%, from EUR 925 to EUR 960. The special grant fee charged for applications with any amendments, corrections, and the translation of the claims filed online in a character-coded format on or after April 1, 2018, has increased from EUR 825 to EUR 860.

Renewal Fees

Renewal fees for all years have grown by approximately 4% with the increase range varying from EUR 20 to EUR 65. Previously, the first renewal fee for the third year amounted to EUR 470, however, it now constitutes EUR 490, showing the minimum increase among other renewal fees in terms of amount. The highest growth in euros as per the amendments constitutes the fee for the 10th and each subsequent year, which has increased from EUR 1575 to EUR 1640, demonstrating a difference of EUR 65.

The surcharge paid for late payment of any of the renewal fees remains the same at the rate of 50% of the renewal fee due. The amendments are not limited to what is enumerated above, with changes covering the whole Fee Schedule including fees for search, appeals and filing of divisional applications as well as oppositions and re-establishment of rights.

The increase in fees set forth by the EPO is a bi-annual move allowing IP fee rates to move steadily in line with inflation. The largest increase in fees, although not mentioned above, is for appeals. This is hoped to give the Boards of Appeal a higher level of financial independence.

Author: Lynda Miller