In 2023, the European Patent Office (EPO) implemented wide-ranging fee increases on the procedural fees relating to patent filings, averaging around a 5% increase across the board.  Only a few fees remained constant.

In 2024, the European Patent Office (EPO) has again announced a set of fee increases[1] on procedural fees, to be effective from 1 April 2024.  Whilst this may present unwelcome news for consumers, the fee increases this year are on average, slightly lower than last year, amounting to a 4% increase overall, and quite a few important frequently encountered fees are not increasing.  Notably, there appears to have been an effort to ring-fence upstream fees with the fees for filing an application, filing an opposition and filing an appeal remaining unchanged.  In contrast, downstream fees have increased a proportionally higher amount – for example the third-year and fourth-year renewal fees typically payable whilst an application is still pending increasing by 30% and 28% respectively.  The EPO reports[2] however, that in view of the changes, the usual biennial inflation adjustment applied on the fee charges will not apply in 2025 providing some certainty on fee levels for the short-term ahead.

A new fee scheme for micro-entities is being introduced to increase accessibility for small applicants, with reduced fees at key milestones in the patent grant procedure, including for patent filing, search, designation of European states, examination, grant and renewal.  Only eligible micro-entities including natural persons, micro-enterprises and non-profit organisations can make use of this new scheme which provides a 30% reduction on all the main fees, whilst pre-existing discounts available for SMEs continue to be available.  To meet their eligibility criteria, there is a limit of five applications per year.

Similarly to last year, it may be prudent to complete certain actions requiring a fee payment before 1 April.  If you would like more information about how these fee increases will affect your patent portfolio, please contact us.  Wynne-Jones are able to advise you on how best to respond in advance of these fee increases, including through use of our bespoke renewals service.

 Credit: Wynne Jones IP