European Patent Office Rules Changes Are Imminent, Including Official Fees

Author:Mr Stephan Gribok
Profession:Duane Morris LLP

Originally published February 29, 2008

Rules changes pending in the European Patent Office (EPO), including changes in official fees, are to become effective April 1, 2008 and April 1, 2009. Certain official fees can be avoided by taking action to attend to paying official fees due for 2008 before April 1.

Annual renewal fees payable in pending EPO patent applications (sometimes called "annuities" or annual "taxes") are to increase between 18% and 27%. The larger percentage increase is applicable to longer-pending applications.

Late payment surcharges due when paying an annual renewal fee within the six-month late payment grace period are to be increased by a factor of five (i.e., 500%).

To avoid unnecessary renewal fees, annual taxes due in 2008 should be paid before the fee increases become effective on April 1, especially if the annual renewal is already in its grace period.

Other rules changes will affect choices made by applicants when filing new EPO applications now and in the future, such as increased official fees payable in applications with claims and/or pages numbering over certain limits. Any "large" applications that are close to being filed should be expedited and submitted before April 1 to avoid the increased fees. Applicants should consider limiting the number of pages and claims in future applications.

If you have any questions about this Alert or would like more information, please contact Stephan P. Gribok or any other member of the Patents Law Practice Group.

This article is for general information and does not include full legal analysis of the matters presented. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or...

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