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EPO fee changes from 1 April 2018

European Patent Office has decided to change number of official fees from 1st April 2018.

List of most important alterations:

1) Discontinuation of the reduced search fee for European regional phase PCT applications

For PCT applications that enter the European regional phase from 1 April 2018 and where the international search was performed by the US, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian or Australian patent office, the 190 EUR reduction in the supplementary search fee will not be available, so for relevant applications the cost of entering the European regional phase will increase.  All applicants who select non-European International Searching Authorities (ISA) will pay the same fee as of 1 April 2018.

2) Expansion of the window in which the third year renewal fee can be paid

The window in which a third year renewal fee can be paid will be expanded from three to six months. It will be possible to pay the third year renewal fee up to six months before it falls due. Rule 51(1) EPC remains unchanged as regards all renewal fees other than the third year fee, which cannot be paid validly more than three months before they fall due.

3) Change in appeal fee

From 1 April 2018, there will be two levels of appeal fee.  The appeal fee will remain at 1,880 EUR for appellants that are either (a) a natural person, or (b) a small- or medium-sized enterprise, a non-profit organisation, a university or a public research organisation. For all other entities, the appeal fee will increase to 2,255 EUR.

4) Reduction in international search/examination fee

For PCT applications filed using the EPO as International Searching Authority (ISA) or International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) a reduction of 100 EUR will be made to international search ( 1,775 EUR after changes) and preliminary examination fee (1,830EUR after changes).

5) Larger reduction in examination fee

The reduction in the examination fee due on a European regional phase of PCT application for which the EPO drew up an international preliminary examination report has been increased from 50% to 75%.

6) Fee reductions concerning format of filing

The EPO aims to establish filing online in character-coded format (“XML”) as the standard filing format. It requires that all documents which are the basis for the proceedings before the EPO be filed online in this format. To make filing in character-coded format attractive, the EPO will enable filing in DOCX. This is the character-coded format most users use in their daily work. Further, it is proposed to offer reduced fee levels as of 1 April 2018.

Filing

Currently, applicants file by using a mixture of document formats: on paper, by fax and online (PDF(text), PDF(image) and XML). As a result of this diversity, the EPO’s choice has been to harmonise on the lowest common denominator and to store and process all documents internally as images.

Three filing fee levels are proposed. A reduced fee level for online filings in character-coded format (90 EUR); a fee level stagnation for online filings in any other format (120 EUR) and an increased fee level for all other cases (250 EUR).

Grant

In order to provide an incentive to file online in character-coded format throughout the grant procedure, the EPO proposed reduction of the fee for grant. The aim of this measure is to encourage users not only to file applications, but also subsequent documents in character-coded format. It is proposed that during a transitional period of one year (i.e. until 31.03.2019), the fee for grant remains at the same level as the present fee for grant, details below:

Fee for grant including fee for publication of the European patent specification where on or after 1 April 2018 all amendments and corrections of the application, if any, and the translation of the claims are filed online in character-coded format (825 EUR);  in all other cases where the fee for grant is paid between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 (925 EUR) and where the fee for grant is paid on or after 1 April 2019 (1,025 EUR).

7) Transmittal fee

As a further incentive, it is proposed to reduce the amount of the transmittal fee, which is set by the EPO if it acts as receiving Office. The reduced amount of zero (0 EUR) applies on condition that the international application is filed online in character-coded format, whereas in all other cases (130 EUR).

Full EPO pricelist is available here: 

https://my.epoline.org/portal/classic/epoline.Scheduleoffees

Detailed information about upcoming changes available here:

https://www.epo.org/modules/epoweb/acdocument/epoweb2/295/en/CA-102-17_en.pdf

http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/2018/01/a2/2018-a2.pdf

If you have any questions regarding changes in the EPO tariffs, please contact our patent attorneys.