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EPO - change of fees and the rule on payment of 3rd annual fee

Kazuya Sekiguchi / May 25, 2018
EPO_change-of-fee-and-rule-on-payment-of-3rd-annual-fee

The European Patent Office announced that a number of fee reductions for patent applications have come into force on April 1, 2018. There is no inflation increase across the board this year, but instead a selective changing of some fees which will hopefully reinforce a more business friendly approach in support of innovation.

From April 1, 2018, the EPO has implemented new fees. The changes of the fees are as follows:

  OLD NEW
Search fee    
- international search fee
- supplementary international search fee
1875
1875
1775
1775
Examination fee    
- preliminary examination fee for an international application 1930 1830
Appeal fee    
- for a natural person or an entity referred to in Rule 6, paragraph 4 and 5
- for any other entity
1880

1880
1880

2255


For international applications for which the EPO has been designated as International Searching Authority (ISA) or International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), the search and preliminary examination fees are reduced with 100 EUR. There used to be a reduction of the supplementary European Search fee by 190 EUR, applied when the international search report was drawn up by the Australian Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Russian Federation), the Chinese Intellectual Property Office or the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but with effect from April 1, 2018, this is no longer applicable.

Considering the reduction of the international search and examination fee, and the abolition of the search fee for the Euro-PCT applications where one the aforementioned offices issue an international search report, it will be worth selecting the EPO as an ISA in filing an international application, when the application should enter the European national phase. In addition to the changes mentioned above, the appeal fee is raised for appellants who are not small and medium sized enterprises, natural persons, non profit organizations, universities or public research organizations.

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization sat in December 2017 and decided to change the wording of Rule 51(1) EPC to allow for payment of the third year renewal fee, up to six months before its due date. The new rule 51(1) EPC, which is applicable from April 1, 2018, reads as follows:

“A renewal fee for the European patent application in respect of the coming year shall be due on the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the date of filing of the European patent application. The renewal fee in respect of the third year may not be validly paid more than six months before it falls due. All other renewal fees may not be validly paid more than three months before they fall due.”

This new rule is applied to any application for which the renewal fee is paid on or after April 1, 2018. Therefore, it is now possible to pay the third annual fee for the Euro-PCT applications, at the time of entering into the European national phase.

EPO – オフィシャルフィーおよび3年目の維持年金支払期限の変更

EPOは、20184月1日よりオフィシャルフィーの一部を変更しました。具体的な変更内容は以下の通りです。

 
Search fee    
- international search fee
- supplementary international search fee
1875
1875
1775
1775
Examination fee    
- preliminary examination fee for an international application 1930 1830
Appeal fee    
- for a natural person or an entity referred to in Rule 6, paragraph 4 and 5
- for any other entity
1880

1880
1880

2255

EPOISAIPEAとして出願した国際出願においては、調査費ならびに予備審査費が100ユーロ減額となりました。一方、オーストラリア、日本、韓国、ロシア、中国およびアメリカの各国特許庁によって作成された国際調査報告がある場合に、これまではEPOでの調査費が190ユーロ減額されていましたが、201841日以降はこの減額は適用されなくなります。

このようにEPOにおける国際調査の費用が減額され、また所定の国の特許庁が国際調査報告を作成した場合に受けられていた減額がなくなったことで、欧州へ移行することが確実な国際出願に関してはEPOを国際調査機関として出願することも考慮に値する戦略になると思われます。

上記国際段階での費用の減額に加えて、EPOは審判費用も変更しました。中小企業や個人である等、所定の要件を満たさない場合には審判費用は増額となります。

2017年12月に行われたEPOの協議により、EPC規則51(1)の文言を変更し、3年目の維持年金の支払いを期限6ヶ月前から認めるというルール改正が行われることになりました。

EPC規則51(1)の文言は以下の通りに改訂され、2018年4月1日以降に維持年金の支払い期限を迎えるすべての出願に対して適用されます。

“A renewal fee for the European patent application in respect of the coming year shall be due on the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the date of filing of the European patent application. The renewal fee in respect of the third year may not be validly paid more than six months before it falls due. All other renewal fees may not be validly paid more than three months before they fall due.”

これにより、Euro-PCT出願については、EPOへの国内移行時に3年目の年金を支払うことができるようになります。

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Posted by Kazuya Sekiguchi

Kazuya Sekiguchi is a Japanese and European patent attorney with more than 13 years of experience, working at the Dennemeyer & Associates' Munich office. He drafts patent/utility model applications, prepares responses to office actions, handles oppositions, and conducts appeals in front of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO). Besides, he handles Japanese Trademark matters, such as filing applications, oppositions, and cancellation trials in front of the JPO.

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