Press release | 2009-03-24 09:37:54

Significant European Patent Office Fee Changes

WHAT

The European Patent Office (EPO) is the latest of a number of patent offices worldwide taking steps reduce the backlog of patent applications awaiting examination. Following last year’s substantial increases in fees, additional claims fees and excess pages surcharges will be payable on many European patent applications (including PCT applications that enter the regional phase at the EPO after the date on which the fee increases take effect).

The rule changes in brief are:

WHY

The EPO has announced fee increases to discourage the filing of large patent applications, and the presentation of large numbers of claims. These factors are (according to the EPO at least) key drivers of increased patent waiting times at the EPO.

WHEN

This second round of EPO fee changes will go into effect on 1 April 2009.

IMPLICATIONS

inovia, the largest processor of foreign patent filings worldwide, has IP experts who discuss the impact of the fee changes to patent owners below:

inovia’s Founder & Executive Director, Justin Simpson, notes: "Patent examination backlogs are a major source of friction in the global patent system. Whilst it is yet to be seen whether these fee changes will have a serious long-term impact on the examination backlog, the EPO is certainly tackling this issue head-on. They believe their changes will simplify the application process without undermining the fundamental incentive associated with a patent grant. Currently the regional phase is entered in Europe by around 55% of all US applicants."

inovia’s Head of Professional Services Jeff Sweetman, notes: "PCT applicants that have large numbers of claims and plan to enter the regional phase after 1 April 2009 may wish to consider reducing the number of claims at regional phase entry. Unlike the corresponding US situation, claims with multiple dependencies are allowed in Europe without surcharge and may help to reduce the number of claims necessary to secure a given scope of protection. Alternatively, it may also be possible to enter the regional phase at the EPO early (i.e., ahead of the 31 month deadline) to avoid the latest round of fee increases"

About inovia

inovia is the global leader in foreign patent filing, having served more than 1,500 clients. Its global instruction platform, inovia.com, simplifies the PCT national stage entry, direct (Paris Convention) filing and European validation processes. inovia, a member of the RWS Group, has headquarters in New York, offices in London, Munich and Sydney, and agents covering over 130 countries, providing support in all major time zones and IP jurisdictions. inovia's patented technology pioneered online foreign filing and is recognized among WIPO's most notable inventions. For more information visit www.inovia.com and follow the company on Twitter @inoviaIP.

Contact:

Elizabeth Curtin

marketingteam@inovia.com

Marketing Coordinator

+1 (646) 237 3864