UPC – Preparatory Committee Proposes Court Fees
Over 2 years after the Agreement on the Unitary Patent Court was signed, the Preparatory Committee has published proposed Court fees and launched a public consultation on the fee structure for the Court.
The consultation document comprises of two options revising the Rules of Procedure, including a table of fees, a scale of ceilings for recoverable costs and an Explanatory Note.
The Committee have said that “The fee structure for the Unified Patent Court will comprise fixed fees and, for certain actions, an additional value based fee. The fee levels proposed are the lowest that will enable eventual sustainability of the Court”. Two alternatives have been set out.
Given that the Unitary Patent and UPC have been championed by the European Parliament to “cut costs for small firms and tailored the regime to their needs…” it may be surprising that both the proposed alternatives include a minimum fixed fee of €11, 000 to bring an infringement action before the UPC. Furthermore, for claims with a value greater than €500,000, a value-based fee will also be payable (increasing with value of the action). Counter claims for revocation have the same fixed fee, and revocations, higher still at €20,000. Ceiling levels for recoverable costs are also proposed, starting at €50,000 for a €250, 000 action.
There are options for seeking reductions; in one alterative, reimbursements may be available if the action is settled or withdrawn and in the other alternative, SMEs, micro entities and the like, may apply for an exemption (this will only apply to the value based fees).
More welcome news will be the proposal that an opt-out fee, to remove a European patent from the jurisdiction of the UPC, should be set at €80, and this will be applicable to each patent, and not each designation. Comments (electronically to the [email protected] before midnight on the 31 July) are welcomed on any aspect of the proposal and will be considered by the Preparatory Committee and its appropriate Working Groups prior to publication of an agreed fee structure.