The Australian Patent Office (APO) is proposing official fee increases with effect from August 1, 2010. Fees always go up (we don’t often get to report on fee decreases). However, there is one new fee which will close off an existing loophole for avoiding excess claims fees.
Those who regularly prosecute applications in Australia should be aware that the APO applies an excess claims fee based on the claim count at the moment of allowance (the official fee is A$100 for each claim beyond the first 20 claims).
To date, it has been possible to delete claims prior to allowance in order to reduce the claim count, and then add back the deleted claims after allowance. However, the APO is now proposing a new fee which will apply in circumstances where an applicant adds back claims after allowance (the proposed new fee is A$100 for each added claim beyond the first 20 claims).
If you wish to take advantage of this loophole, then you should expedite prosecution such that the amendment to “add back” excess claims occurs before August 1, 2010.
(via Bill Bennett, Partner at Pizzeys in Australia)