The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has announced changes to the UK patent fees. The changes follow a consultation last year and introduce some new fees as well as increasing existing fees. The changes will enter into force on 6 April 2018.
The new fees and changes to fees relating to filing, search, examination and grant will affect both direct UK patent applications and UK national phase applications based on the PCT. The changes to renewal fees will affect all granted UK patents, including those resulting from European patent applications.
Full details of the new fee structure can be found on the UKIPO website here.
Filing and Search Fees
The existing filing and search fees will increase (to £60 and £150 respectively for an e-filed application), and a 25% surcharge will be payable if the application fee is paid after the filing date.
Perhaps more significantly, a new excess claims fee is also being introduced, to be paid with the search fee.
Under the old fee structure there was no financial disadvantage to filing an application with a large number of claims. However, from 6 April 2018 there will be an excess claims fee of £20 for each claim over 25 claims.
Examination Fee and Excess Pages Fee
An increase in the examination fee and a new excess page fee will affect all applications for which examination requests are filed on or after 6 April 2018.
The examination fee will increase by £20 (to £100 for an e-filed application). The excess pages fees will be £10 for each page of the description over 35 pages. The fee will be due upon payment of the examination fee.
The UK currently has no grant/issue fee for patents. For applications affected by the new excess claims or pages fees, if the number of excess claims or excess pages increases during prosecution of the application, a fee will be payable at grant composed of the additional excess claims fees and excess pages fees due.
Summary of fee changes for pending applications
* Fees are slightly higher for filing on paper.
Renewal fees for year 12 onwards will be increasing by £10. The transitional provisions permit payment of the lower (pre fee increase) fee if it is paid before 6 April 2018, even if the fee payment is in respect of an annuity that is not due until after 6 April 2018.
Considerations for Applicants
If you are considering filing a direct UK patent application or UK national phase entry from a PCT application, you may wish to do this before 6 April 2018 if possible to avoid the new fees. If filing a UK national phase entry early, a request for early processing will also be required.
If you have existing UK applications for which the search and examination fees have not been paid, you may wish to do this before 6 April 2018 if your applications have over 25 claims or over 35 pages of description.
The UKIPO noted in their Consultation that the majority of applications have fewer than 25 claims and fewer than 35 pages of description, so that the fee changes will have a very limited impact. UKIPO fees remain highly competitive relative to those of other similar sized economies.
There will be no effect on UK patents resulting from European patent applications except for the increase in renewal fees.
For further information on the fee changes, and the effect they may have on your existing or new patent applications, please contact your usual Boult Wade Tennant adviser.