UKIPO and EPO Fees – changes applying from April 2018

February 2018

Official fees for patent applications at both the UKIPO and EPO will be changing from April 2018.  In some cases, applicants may want to consider the timing for paying fees in relation to applications to maximise any opportunities to pay lower official fees.  If you would like advice on this, please contact your usual HGF Attorney.  The UKIPO and EPO fee changes are summarised below for your information.

EPO Fees from 1 April 2018

The EPO OJ January 2018 has announced the 2018 EPO Fees that will apply from 1 April 2018.  There is no inflation increase across the board this year, but a selective changing of some fees. 

EP(PCT) applications entering the EP phase on or after 1 April 2018:

  • Where the EPO has drawn up an international preliminary examination report, the examination fee payable on entry to the EPO phase shall be reduced by 75%. Previously, this was 50%. 
  • There will no longer be a reduction (€190) in the search fee for the supplementary European search fee if the international search report was drawn up by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Japanese Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the Chinese Intellectual Property Office, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Russian Federation) or the Australian Patent Office.

 PCT applications, filed via the EPO on or after 1 April 2018:

  • International search/supplementary search fee and preliminary examination fee will each be reduced by €100
  • The transmittal fee (€130) will be waived, provided the PCT request is filed online in character-coded format.

Appeal fee will increase to €2255, unless filed by a natural person or an entity referred to in Rule 6, paragraphs 4 and 5 (i.e. small and medium-sized enterprises, non-profit organisations, universities and public research organisations).

Renewal fees will not increase.  From 1 April 2018 EPO 3rd year renewal fee can be paid even earlier; up to 6 months before it is due, allowing for it to be paid on 31 months regional phase entry in the EPO of a PCT application.

Other fees decreasing on 1 April 2018, provided the required documentation is filed online in character-coded format, include:

  • Filing fee - reduced by €30
  • Grant fee – reduced by €100

However, from 1 April 2019, higher rates of fees will apply, penalising applicants where the required documentation is NOT filed online in character-coded format.  The EPO is yet to publish information regarding the character-coded format requirement.

UKIPO Patent Fees from 6 April 2018

New UK patents fees are due to come in to force on 6 April 2018.  The UKIPO have now produced a summary table here.

The proposed changes include the following:

  • Application fee will increase from £30 to £90 (paper applications) and £20 to £60 (e-filings) and a surcharge of 25% if the application fee is not paid on filing.
  • Search fees to rise to £150 (UK search request, filed electronically), £180 (UK search request, filed on paper), £120 (international application (UK), filed electronically) and £150 (international application (UK), filed on paper). 
  • Substantive exam fees to rise to £100 (e-filed) and £130 (paper filing).
  • Excess claim fee of £20 per claim applying to Claims 26 and above.  The fee for any excess claims will be required as part of the search fee. Note that the document states that “Approximately 25% of applications requesting search contain more than 25 claims. So the revised excess claims fee will not affect around three-quarters of all patent applications, and the fee will not be payable on the “average” application containing 22 claims.”
  • A new grant fee will also be payable if the number of excess claims increases.
  • Additional page fee of £10 per page over 35 pages, to be paid with the substantive exam fee.  IPO data suggests that 11% of applications handled by the IPO contain more than 35 pages of description. So almost 90% of applications will therefore remain unaffected by the excess pages fee.
  • Renewal fees – £10 increase to patent renewal fees for years 12 onwards.

This update was prepared by HGF Partner Mark Lunt. If you would like further advice on this or any other matter please contact Mark or your usual HGF representative, alternatively visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.