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Recent Changes to the European Patent Convention

The European Patent Convention (“EPC 2000”) came into effect on December 13, 2007 and represents the most significant change in European patent law since the European Patent Convention was first introduced in 1977. Recently, significant changes were made to the fee structure within EPC 2000. These changes apply to applications filed after April 1, 2009 and International Applications (PCT) which enter the European regional phase after that date.  Applicants and practitioners should be aware of some of the important changes when considering their European filing strategy. A brief review of the changes to the fee structure is outlined below.

Excess Pages Fees

The excess pages fee is now due upon filing or upon entry into the European regional phase, instead of being payable as part of the grant fee. The new excess pages fee is €12 for each page of the specification (description, claims, abstract, and drawings) over 35 pages. For international applications, page count takes into account any changes made before European regional entry, but not any made subsequently.  

Excess Claims Fees

A new higher excess claims fee of €500 for each claim over 50 is now due. The previous fee of €200 for the 16th through 50th claim is still applicable.  

Designation Fees

Designation fees are payable when examination is requested, 6 months after publication of the European search report, or upon entry into the European regional phase. Previously, applicants paid a designation fee for each contracting state up to a maximum of seven, after which all states could be designated at no additional cost. For applications filed on or after April 1, 2009, a single designation fee of €500 is payable regardless of the number of contracting states.  

Renewal Fees

Renewal fees are now only payable up to 3 months before the due date. This means that it is no longer possible to pay the first renewal fee for an International application on entry to the European regional phase along with the other fees due at that time.  

This advisory was prepared by Nutter's Intellectual Property practice. For more information, please contact your Nutter attorney at 617-439-2000.

This update is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered as advertising.

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