Fee increases for British patent applications

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has announced a number of changes to the official fees payable for pending British patent applications and granted British patents which will take effect on 6 April 2018. As explained below, clients with pending British applications where a request for search and/or examination has not yet been filed, could benefit from a considerable cost saving if they request search and examination, and pay the associated fees, before 6 April 2018.

Fee Increases

The IPO have announced that the application fee, search fee and examination fee will each increase.  The cost increase for applications filed online is set out in the table below.  The fees all increase by an additional £30 to the amounts given below for paper filings.

  Current Fee Fee from 6 April 2018
Application fee £20 £60
Search fee £130 £150
Search fee for an international application (UK) where the application was searched during the international phase £100 £120
Substantive examination fee £80 £100

Additionally, renewal fees payable for the 12th year onwards will each increase by £10.

New Fees

The main change to note is the addition of some new fees.  In particular, the IPO will introduce a late payment surcharge if the application fee is not paid at the time of filing.  The surcharge will amount to 25% of the application fee.

Furthermore, the IPO will introduce an excess claims fee of £20 for each claim over 25, which will be payable at the same time as requesting a search.  It is noted that a request for a search of a further invention or a supplementary search will incur the search fee quoted above, but no further excess claims fees will be payable.

The IPO will also introduce an excess page fee of £10 for each page of the description over 35, which will be payable at the same time as requesting substantive examination.

Finally, the IPO have announced that that they will carry out a further check of the application at the time of allowance.  If additional claims and/or pages have been added then a grant fee will be payable for any additional excess claims or pages which were not paid at the time of requesting search or examination.  Accordingly, the IPO will issue a communication notifying the applicant of the grant fee and setting a two month deadline for payment.  However, the grant fee will not be payable for excess claims or excess pages if the requests for search or examination, respectively, were filed before 6 April 2018.  

Accordingly, clients with pending British applications where a request for search and/or examination has not yet been filed may wish to consider filing the requests and paying the fees before 6 April 2018 to avoid the fee increase.  For instance, if a British application had 100 pages and 50 claims the search and examination fees payable before 6 April 2018 would amount to £230.  However, the search and examination fees payable from 6 April 2018 would amount to £1420.