HomeNews & EventsUK: proposals for changes in patent fees
May 17, 2017

UK: proposals for changes in patent fees

The UK IPO announced proposals for increase in patent fees. The changes would also need to be accompanied by changes in legislation which may take place on October 1, 2017 at the earliest.

The UK IPO is planning to review its fee structure. The UK IPO currently sets relatively low pre-grant fees and recovers costs spent on the work performed within the registration process mainly from the maintenance fees paid by patent holders. Still, the IPO breaks even only after approximately fifteen annual fees have been paid. As not all patent owners maintain their patents in force for so many years and some applications do not reach the stage of granting a patent, this brings risks of upfront costs never being recovered. The proposals intend to promote earlier cost recovery for the UK IPO and still keep charges on a competitive level.

Filing fees

The UK IPO proposes to increase the filing fee from 20 GBP to 60 GBP for e-filed applications and from 30 GBP to 90 GBP for paper-based applications. Additionally, it is proposed to introduce a 25% surcharge on the filing fee if it is paid after the filing date. Said changes are expected to promote better filing practice. The low filing fee and the fact that currently it does not have to be paid at the time of filing contribute to the high number of the filed applications which are not likely to end up with granting a patent. Another change is introduction of the excess pages fee, which is intended to encourage filing of clear and more concisely defined patent applications. The excess pages fee will constitute 35 GBP per additional page of a description in excess of 35.

Search and examination fees

It is proposed to raise the search fees to 150 GBP and 180 GBP for e-filed and paper-filed applications correspondingly. The fee for requesting substantive examination will, therefore, be increased to 100 GBP for e-filed applications and to 130 GBP for paper-based applications. The costs for conducting search and substantive examination will also be influenced by the number of claims in a patent application. It is proposed to introduce the excess claims fee in the amount of 30 GBP per claim in excess of 15.

Alternative proposal

As an alternative, the UK IPO proposes to introduce smaller increases to said fees simultaneously with slight increase in maintenance fees. Thus, the changes in the upfront fees would constitute half of the above-mentioned increase. In the meantime, annual maintenance fees for the 5th to the 20th years would be increased by 10 GBP each.

The UK IPO is awaiting public views on said proposals from any party concerned. The consultation ends on June 6, 2017. We will keep you updated on any developments on the matter.

Meanwhile, to get actual quotes for IP rights registration in the United Kingdom as well as other countries of your interest, do not hesitate to visit our online quotation system.

Author: Lynda Miller