Proposed Fee Changes at the UKIPO
The UK Intellectual Property Office has proposed changes to fees relating to UK patent applications and patents.
As part of the process, the UKIPO ran a consultation on changes to statutory fees from April to June 2017. Perhaps unsurprisingly the feedback on the proposed fee increases was mixed.
The UKIPO has now responded to the consultation and proposed changes to the statutory patent fees. Some of the proposed changes have been lessened from the original proposals as a result of the consultation. The government intends for the new fee regime to come into effect on 6 April 2018.
The proposed changes include a small increase in application fees, examination fees, search fees and renewal fees, and that for the first time in the UK there will be fees for claims in excess of 25 and for pages of a patent application in excess of 35. If the proposed changes go ahead, they will represent the first increase in UK IPO fees since 2010.
The introduction of “excess” claim and pages fees is a first for the UK and brings the UK IPO in line with many patent offices worldwide. The new fees will not affect the majority of applications: approximately 25% of UK patent applications contain 26 claims or more and approximately 11% of UK patent applications contain 36 or more pages of description.
A further Impact Assessment published by the government reveals some of their thinking behind the proposed changes, specifically, discouraging “hopeless applications”, encouraging clear and concise patent applications and shifting a greater percentage of costs to the pre-grant phase of an application such that the UK IPO’s reliance on renewal fees is lessened.
Despite the proposed changes the UK IPO retains its status as an attractive location for filing patent applications, there is still the option for excellent low-cost prior art searching and no mandatory fees for the first year of the patent application.
The government’s proposed changes are:
- Increasing application fees from £20 to £60 for e-filings and from £30 to £90 for paper applications
- Introducing a new surcharge of 25% for applications fees not paid on filing
- Increasing search fees to £150 for requests filed electronically and to £180 for requests filed on paper.
- Increasing search fees for the UK phase of international applications to £120 for electronic filings and to £150 for paper filings.
Substantive exam fee
- Increasing examination fees from £80 to £100 for e-filed applications and from £100 to £130 for paper applications.
Excess claim fee
- Introducing a new £20 fee for each claim after claim 25. The excess claim fee is payable when a request for a search is filed.
Additional page fee
- Introducing a new £10 fee for each page over 35 pages. The additional page fee is payable with the substantive exam fee.
- Increasing the renewal fee by £10 for years 12 onwards.