The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that many of its official fees will increase with effect from 1 April 2020. A range of official fees will be affected, rising by an average of 4% to reflect inflation. This is the first general increase in official fees since 2016.
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 2020 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. On average, these fees will increase by approximately 4%. 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 2020 would also bring savings.
There will be a more substantial increase of 20% applied to the appeal fee for “large entity” appellants that do not qualify for the reduced appeal fee. The reduced fee, which will increase by approximately 5% on 1 April 2020, is applicable where the appellant is (a) a natural person, or (b) a small- or medium-sized enterprise, a non-profit organisation, a university or a public research organisation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.