Thursday, 26 March 2015

Renewal fees discussed in Select Committee at EPO

On 23 and 24 March 2015 the Select Committee held its 13th meeting at the EPO in Munich.

According to a leaked document, reported earlier, the EPO President Battistelli had proposed two different renewal fees schedules for the unitary patent. These schedules are referred to as TOP4 and TOP5. In the TOP4 and TOP5 proposal the level of the renewal fee of the unitary patent would be equal to the sum of the national renewal fees payable in the 4 or 5 states in which European patents are most frequently validated. In the TOP5 proposal there is a 25% reduction for the early renewal for some applicant, e.g., the SMEs.

In a communiqué of the select commission these proposals for the renewal fees have now been confirmed. 

There have been complaints from the industry  that these proposals are too expensive. On the other hand the renewal fees are a major source of income for the patent offices. All (participating) national patent offices are represented in the Select Committee.

The Member States debated the level of the renewal fees and how these renewal fees should be distributed among the participating member states.

In a traditionally European patent only a state in which the patent is validated benefits from renewal fees paid after grant. In a unitary patent this natural distribution method is unavailable, as the unitary patent will be valid in all participating member states--no separate validation is needed.

Nothing has been decided, neither on the level nor on the distribution of the renewal fees, but,  the Select Committee confirmed a commitment to take these decisions by the end of June 2015.

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