Agreement reached on the distribution of renewal fees in respect of Unitary Patents

November 2015

Agreement has been reached on the distribution of income that will be generated from renewal fees in respect of Unitary Patents. The EPO will be entitled to 50% of each renewal fee, while the other 50% will be distributed among the EU Member States participating in the Unitary Patent scheme, announced the EPO.

Within the announcement, the EPO President stated we could expect to see Unitary Patents as soon as mid 2016: "For its own part, the EPO is ready to implement the system.  Provided that the EU Member States manage to ratify the Agreement establishing the Unified Patent Court in time, the first Unitary Patents could already be delivered in the second half of 2016".

A separate announcement for the European Commission explained further that “50% of fees will be retained by the EPO while the remainder (minus an administrative charge) will be distributed among the participating countries according to a formula that takes account of the GDP and the number of applications filed from that country.  The distribution arrangements will be reviewed regularly. The EPO will report on revenues and the fee distribution, and it will be possible, though not obligatory, to adapt the distribution key if practice differs greatly from projected figures. The distribution key will be subject to revision every five years.”

The Unitary Patent renewal fees have been already set a level roughly equivalent to what an applicant would normally pay for the four major countries under the classical European patent system. Since Italy acceded to the unitary patent package on 30 September, this fee level has become more attractive.