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Home Business New, simplified fee system supports small applicants with 30% discounts​

New, simplified fee system supports small applicants with 30% discounts​

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd

New, simplified fee system supports small applicants with 30% discounts​

31.01.2024

Fees for European patent applications are changing from 1 April 2024. These include reductions for small companies and even the abolition of some fees. Internal renewal fees are rising by less than the rate of inflation resulting in a decrease since 2016 in absolute terms.​

​​Following a comprehensive review of the EPO’s fee system by the Administrative Council, a number of important fee changes come into force on 1 April 2024. This package of fee measures introduces dedicated fee reductions for micro-entities, simplifies the fee system, creates incentives for further digitalisation, and secures the Organisation’s financial sustainability through moderate increases of procedural and internal renewal fees.

​Building on effective measures to support small and medium-sized applicants in obtaining patent protection and commercialising their inventions throughout Europe and the world, the EPO will introduce further support focused on those innovative entities needing financial support to access the European patent system, i.e. micro-enterprises, natural persons, non-profit organisations, universities and public research organisations. These micro-entities will benefit from a 30% reduction in all main fees in the patent grant procedure, provided they have filed fewer than five applications in the last five years.

​The above fee reductions complement the existing support measures for small and medium-sized entities, which include:

  • ​a reduction of the filing and examination fees when the European patent application or the request for examination is in an official language of a contracting state but other than English, French or German;
  • ​a compensation lump sum for Unitary Patent-related translation costs; and
  • ​a reduced appeal fee.

​Additional support measures will also enter into force on 1 April:

  • ​All users of MyEPO Portfolio will benefit from fee reductions to zero to further incentivise their use of this secure, web-based online service. These reductions include, for instance, the fee for registration of transfers of rights for a European patent application or patent, i.e. change of ownership, in the European Patent Register.
  • ​Finally, the fee system is simplified by abolishing five rarely used fees.

​ ​In order to ensure the Organisation’s financial sustainability, moderate fee increases will be implemented to offset at least partially the high inflation and reduced income resulting from the EPO’s gains in timeliness:

  • ​With the exception of the filing, opposition and appeal fees, procedural fees will be adjusted by only 4%. This means that this year’s and last year’s adjustments, taken together, remain more than 7% below the real inflation rate, which was only possible due to the Office’s efficiency gains.
  • ​To align the structure of internal renewal fees with the EPO operating at cruising speed, six out of eighteen internal renewal fees are increased. In absolute terms, however, the overall internal renewal fees have decreased since 2016.

​In view of the comprehensive set of fee changes, there will be no biennial inflation adjustment in 2025, which would normally apply in the regular two-year cycle.

​In addition to the legal instruments published in the Official Journal, further information on the upcoming changes in our FAQs will be published in the coming weeks.