The European Patent Office (EPO), by way of the Decision of the Administrative Council of 15 December 2021 (CA/D 13/21) (published in the January 2022 issue of The Official Journal of the EPO), has announced that many of its official fees will increase with effect from 1 April 2022. A range of official fees will be affected, rising by approximately 2.5 to 3%.

Whilst most of the fee increases are relatively small, it may still be worth considering whether any fees can be paid prior to 1 April 2022 at the existing rate. For example, maintenance fees for European patent applications can be paid up to 3 months in advance of their due date. The official fees payable upon entering the European regional phase of a PCT application are also increasing and so early entry could also be considered. Filing a divisional application before 1 April 2022 would also bring savings, as would requesting examination ahead of the due date.  Additionally, fee savings would also be available for priority-claiming European applications filed before 1 April 2022, but any such savings should be weighed against the potential loss of patent term.

If you have any questions about paying EPO official fees early in order to enjoy the lower fees, please contact any of our attorneys or email mail@vennershipley.co.uk.