On April 1, the European Patent Office changes the fee structure for filing applications and entering the European regional phase of PCT applications. For most applicants, this will mean an overall increase in fees paid.

What are the changes?

  1. There will now be a single designation fee of €500, irrespective of the number of states designated. This replaces the present system of a designation fee of €85 per country up to a maximum of seven countries.
  2. The printing fee for all European patent application filings and European regional phase entries will now be due upon filing or entry. The printing fee will be €12 per page over thirty-five (including abstract, description, claims and drawings, but excluding any sequence listing). It is not possible to amend the application on regional phase entry to reduce the fee.
  3. The excess claim fee for the fiftieth and each subsequent claim will rise from €200 to €500 per claim.  Currently, excess claims fees are payable at €200 each for claims in excess of fifteen

So, what’s it mean to you?

The new single designation fee is greater than the present combined designation fees for five or fewer states. Therefore, if you are looking to file a European patent application or enter the European regional phase for PCT application and wish to designate five or fewer states, then you want to get it filed prior to April 1.

If you wish to designate six states, then the cost of filing the European patent application or entering the European regional phase of a PCT application will be less before 1 April 2009 if there are thirty-six or more pages. If you wish to designate six states and the application has thirty-five pages or fewer, then the cost of filing the application or entering the European regional phase will be €10 less if you file after April 1.

If you wish to designate all available states, then it will be cheaper to enter the European regional phase before April 1 if the specification contains forty-three or more pages. However, if the specification has forty-two or fewer pages, then you should consider deferring the filing of the European patent application or entering the European regional phase until after April 1.  If you are considering filing a European patent application after April 1, you can try to reduce the length of the specification to reduce the printing fee.

Note, early entry into the European regional phase will not advance the European Patent prosecution (without a specific request to the European Patent Office). Therefore, early entry into the European regional phase will not automatically affect the timing of the prosecution of the application.

(via Forresters)

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