07 February 2022
The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced it will be increasing official fees by approximately 2.5% from 1 April 2022 – two years since its last fee increase in April 2020. Full details of the increases are available via the EPO website.
Those with the largest increase (~3%) include application filing fees and renewal fees, while additional page fees, international search fees and further processing of delayed payments will remain at their current cost. The majority of official fees paid on or after 1 April 2022 will be charged at the new rate (although a six month grace period until 1 October 2022 has been confirmed if an official fee is paid at the pre-April 2022 rate). As stated by the EPO, it will be “deemed to have been validly paid if the deficit is made good within two months of an invitation to that effect from the [EPO]”.
Applicants can save money by paying fees early, ahead of the 1 April 2022 fee increase date, even if the official deadline for paying the fee is not until later in the year. Some fee payments, such as requesting examination and paying renewal fees, can be performed several months ahead of the official deadline so applicants may find it worthwhile to review their patent portfolios to check what fee payments are due over the next few months. A key example that could result in significant savings is entering the European regional phase early (i.e. before 1 April 2022). By doing this, applicants can save up to €115 per application (around 3% of the official fees). Although this would involve attending to the formalities to enter the European regional phase early, it would not bring forward other costs associated with the application as there is no need to request early processing of the application should an applicant choose this option.
We recommend applicants check their pending PCT applications now to decide whether to enter the European regional phase early to take advantage of the cost savings.
For more information about the fee increases and how they may affect your European patent portfolio, and to discuss your options in filing early to save costs, please get in touch with your usual Mathys & Squire attorney, or send us an enquiry here.
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