January 27, 2009

On Monday, the European Patent Office (EPO) provided a formal notice via the EPO website regarding significant changes to its current fee structure. According to the EPO, "Those aspects of the new fee structure described under points 3.1 to 3.4 below (two-tier structure of claims fees, additional fee on filing, flat designation fee, flat fee for grant and publication) apply to European patent applications, including European divisional applications and new applications under Article 61(1)(b) EPC, filed on or after 1 April 2009 and to international applications entering the regional phase on or after that date. European patent applications filed and international applications entering the regional phase before 1 April 2009 remain subject to the old fee structure, and so for these applications the relevant provisions of the Implementing Regulations and the Rules relating to Fees as in force until 31 March 2009 will continue to apply."

A few of the specific fee highlights are presented below.

1. Two-tier system of claims fees: Since April 1, 2008, an applicant for patent with the EPO receives the first 15 claims as part of the original filing fee, and the applicant incurs a fee of EUR 200 for each claim over 15. However, as of April 1, 2009, the additional fee of EUR 200 will only apply to claims 16 through 50, and any claim over 50 will cost EUR 500 per claim.

2. Excess page fees: For applications comprising more than 35 pages (with specific page exclusions referenced in the links below), each application page over 35 will cost EUR 12.

3. Flat designation fee: For all European patent applications filed and international applications entering the regional phase on or after April 1, 2009, an applicant will incur a flat designation fee of EUR 500, covering ALL contracting states in Europe unless the applicant expressly withdraws specific states.

4. Flat fee for grant: As the EPO will institute excess page fees at the time of filing, there will be no page fees payable at the time of grant for all European patent applications filed and international applications entering the regional phase on or after April 1, 2009.

Additional information regarding these and other EPO fee changes are provided in the first link below, and the official Administrative Council Decisions supporting such fee changes are also linked below.

EPO Notice: LINK
December 14, 2007 Administrative Council Decision: LINK
October 21, 2008 Administrative Council Decision: LINK
December 9, 2008 Administrative Council Decision: LINK


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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