New UK Intellectual Property Office Patent fees
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has recently announced changes to the official fees for applying for patent protection and renewing granted patents in the UK. The new fees come into force on 6 April 2018. The UKIPO has published their guidance for business here.
In summary, the UKIPO is increasing the application, search and examination fees, as well as later renewal fees (for years 12-20). The UKIPO is also introducing new fees:
- a surcharge to the application fee if not paid on filing;
- excess claims fees for each claim over 25, payable when requesting a search;
- excess pages fees for each page of description over 35, payable when requesting examination; and
- a grant fee, comprising further excess claims and pages fees for any additional claims or pages of description added during prosecution, above the number already paid for.
It is worth noting that the new UK excess pages fees apply to the number of pagesof descriptionover 35, not to the number of pages of the application as filed, unlike at the EPO.
A summary of the fee changes for electronic filings is below:
For renewal fees, the charges for years 12-20 are increasing by £10.
For a ‘short’ application comprising no more than 35 pages of description and no more than 25 claims, the fee increases are relatively modest: the total increase in official fees is £80-£95 (depending on whether the application fee is paid on filing). However, for a more extensive UK direct filing comprising 50 pages of description and 50 claims, the total fee increase would be significant at £730-£745, equating to more than a 3-fold increase to the previous official fees, where the minimum official fees totalled £230.
The new UKIPO fee structure more closely replicates current PCT and EPO fee structures, so they are not totally alien, but are significant for longer applications and/or those with an extensive claim set. Nevertheless, the UKIPO fee structure remains significantly lower than corresponding PCT and EP filings.
These fee increases can be mitigated by filing requests for search and/or examinationbefore 6 April 2018: if you have a pending UK patent application and wish to avoid paying the higher fees coming into force on 6 April, then we recommend filing the relevant request early. It is also worth considering if any further applications (such as PCT-derived UK national phase applications or any possible divisional applications) should be filed early, before 6 April, to take advantage of the current lower official fees.
Going forward, it would be prudent to reduce the number of claims and pages in new filings to minimise the official fees payable both in the UK and for any subsequent filings.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like us to review your patent portfolio and advise on an appropriate strategy to mitigate the impact of these fee increases.