European Patent Office to Increase Fees on April 1, 2022


The European Patent Office has published a decision to increase official fees in the January 2022 issue of The Official Journal of the EPO, see Decision of the Administrative Council of December 15, 2021 (CA/D 13/21). After the last increase that took effect on April 1, 2020, most EPO official fees will see an increase effective April 1, 2022. On average, official fees will increase by approximately 3%, although some fees remain unchanged.

Generally, official fees paid on or after April 1, 2022, must be paid at the increased rate. If within six months of April 1, 2022, i.e. until October 1, 2022, an official fee is paid in due time but only in the amount due before April 1, 2022, that fee shall be deemed to have been validly paid if the deficit is made good within two months of an invitation to that effect from the EPO.

Some official fees, however, may be paid "early", i.e. before April 1, 2022, at the current lower rate.

For example, renewal fees for pending European patent applications must be paid in respect of each of Years 3 to 20, with the option of early payment. In detail, the renewal fee for year 3 can be paid up to six months early, while the renewal fees for years 4-20 can only be paid up to three months early.  Therefore, for some applications it may be possible to pay a corresponding renewal fee early and at the current lower rate before April 1, 2022.

In another example, it may be beneficial to file an EP regional phase application based on an international (PCT) application, before the fee increase of April 1, 2022, in order to benefit from current lower rates. Generally, the deadline for entering the EP regional phase is 31 months from the effective date (e.g. earliest priority date or international application date).

Further details can be found on the EPO website.