28 Mar 2022 | IP-Update

The European Patent Office will increase its fees on a rotating basis as of April 1, 2022

The EPO is striving to make online filing of application documents the standard format. To make this more attractive, the EPO has made it possible to file in DOCX, the character-coded format. 

In the future, the EPO will distinguish 3 cases for filing fees:

1. All application documents are filed online in character coded format. Then the official filing fee is only EUR 100.00. 
2. The application is filed online, but at least one document is not in character-coded format. Then the filing fee is EUR 130.00.
3. Filing in paper form, with a filing fee of EUR 270.00. 

It is therefore strongly recommended to ensure in the future that all application documents are filed in character-coded format in order to save official filing fees. 

The chart on this page illustrates the development of filing fees in recent years. Reflected are the specific filing fees for online (red line) and paper (dashed red) filings since 2006, as well as the new filing fee incurred for online filings with only one non-character-coded document, since 2020 (dashed and dotted red). As expected, all fees have increased over the period, with one exception: since the introduction of online filing with one non-character-coded document, the amount for online filing has decreased significantly in 2020. 

Accordingly, official fees can be saved if all application documents are filed in a character coded format. It is to be noted, though, that character coded files, contrary to raster formats (PDF) could easily be modified without identifying such changes afterwards. Furthermore, a consistent representation of special characters and formulas is ensured with raster formats only. It may be advisable to file documents additionally in a raster format; the slightly higher fee of EUR 130 applies. 

The graph also shows the percentage change in the online submission fee from the last change (dashed and dotted blue). The significant 20 percent decrease in 2020 is clearly shown. Also shown is the inflation rate in Germany (dashed blue). As can be clearly seen, changes in fees have been at significantly higher levels than the inflation rate, ranging from 2 to 10 percent from 2008 to 2017 compared to inflation values between 0 and 2 percent. This picture has changed significantly, at least temporarily, since the introduction of online submission with one non-character-coded document in 2020: the sharp drop of 20 percent corrects the old trend. However, with the latest change, the EPO returns to a rate above 5 percent, although here the inflation rate to be contrasted is not yet known. Hopefully, future fee changes will stop the trend and remain below the rate of inflation.

Graphic: Development of filing fees

Author: Fritz Jetzek