Friday, 29 May 2015

New proposal renewal fees unitary patent

The EPO has made a new proposal for the level of the renewal fees that would be payable for a unitary patent. Accompanying the proposal is a document with costs comparisons between a classic European patent and a unitary patent.

According to the document, the new proposal is in response to requests that the level of the renewal fees payable during the first few years of a unitary patent's life be adjusted. The adjusted proposals, bases the fees for the first ten years on the sum of the national renewal fees payable in the countries in which European patents are most frequently validated.

The previous two proposals had names TOP4 and TOP5. The TOP5 proposal is higher than the TOP4 proposal but has a fee reduction for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The new proposals are named true TOP 4 and true TOP5.

The new true TOP 4 renewal fee scheme level is based on the sum of the renewal fees paid today for the four most frequently validated countries. The true TOP 5 level is based on the sum of renewal fees paid today for the five most frequently validated countries.

The new renewal fees are in the table below, together with the previous proposal.

Top4 True
Top5 True
2nd year: 350 35 350 85
3rd year: 465 105 465 165
4th year: 580 145 580 255
5th year: 810 315 810 455
6th year: 855 475 880 645
7th year: 900 630 950 825
8th year: 970 815 1110 1050
9th year: 1020 990 1260 1255
10th year: 1175 1175 1475 1475
11th year: 1460 1460 1790 1790
12th year: 1775 1775 2140 2140
13th year: 2105 2105 2510 2510
14th year: 2455 2455 2895 2895
15th year: 2830 2830 3300 3300
16th year: 3240 3240 3740 3740
17th year: 3640 3640 4175 4175
18th year: 4055 4055 4630 4630
19th year: 4455 4455 5065 5065
20th year: 4855 4855 5500 5500
Total over 20 years 37995 35555 43625 41955
Total over 10 years 7125 4685 7880 6210

As you can see the renewal fees are considerably less in the early years. This means that the price increase after grant of patent has disappeared. The total renewal cost over the first 10 year is thus reduced: 34% for Top4, 21% for Top5.

Over the total 20 years patent can remain in force, the total cost reduction is less in percentage. (The table does not show the renewal fees for SMEs in case of the TOP5 proposals. Both in case of TOP5 and in case of True TOP5, some entities receive a 25% cost reduction).

The graph below shows the accumulated costs in euro for the Top4, True Top4, Top5, and True Top 5.  


  1. What is meant by the sentence: "This means that the price increase after grant of patent has disappeared."

    1. In the original proposal the renewal fees for a unitary patent were the same as the EPO renewal fees for patent applications that were not yet granted (the EPO's internal renewal fees (IRF)).

      If you had an early grant, the IRF were quite a bit higher than national fees. In a sense you would get a price increase if you'd choose for a unitary patent instead of nationally validated patents.

      The current proposal eliminates this problem. A grant as a unitary patent or a grant as a national patents pays the same in renewal fees. (assuming you validate in 4 (for TOP4) or 5 (for TOP5) countries.)