Applying for European Patent
European Patent Costs
The cost for preparing and filing a European patent application varies depending upon a number of factors, such as complexity of invention and urgency.
Obtaining foreign patent protection can be an expensive and lengthy procedure. There are also other costs associated with examining the application, validations and payment of renewal fees in each Contracting state.
If money is spent developing new products, it follows that money should be spent protecting them – irrespective of company size. As discussed in previous posts, the cost of protecting inventions is often negligible when compared with costs for product design, manufacturing, and marketing. Many small businesses dismiss patent protection as irrelevant, without actually understanding what patents can do for them. In fact, patents are becoming even more relevant for modern small businesses with the erosion of traditional marketplace advantages such as tariff protection, retention of unique knowledge and skills in-house, and customer loyalty. Many large companies initially started off as small businesses and went on to build empires founded upon patent protection.
The European Patent Office may levy fees for any official task or procedure carried out under Convention (EPC).
Time limits for the payment of fees other than those fixed by Convention shall be laid down in the Implementing Regulations. Where the Implementing Regulations provide that a fee shall be paid, they shall also lay down the legal consequences of failure to pay such fee in due time. Fees in respect of which the due date is not specified in the provisions of the Convention or of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (hereinafter referred to as the PCT), or of the Implementing Regulations thereto shall be due on the date of receipt of the request for the service incurring the fee concerned.
The fees due to the European Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as the Office) shall be paid in euro by payment or transfer to a bank account held by the Office.
Renewal fees for the European patent application shall be paid to the European Patent Office in accordance with the Implementing Regulations. These fees shall be due in respect of the third year and each subsequent year, calculated from the date of filing of the application. If a renewal fee is not paid in due time, the application shall be deemed to be withdrawn.
The obligation to pay renewal fees shall terminate with the payment of the renewal fee due in respect of the year in which the mention of the grant of the European patent is published in the European Patent Bulletin.
Rates of renewal fees for a patent, renewal fees for a European patent and renewal fees for supplementary certificates are laid down in the tariff of renewal fees.
The payer of renewal fees for a patent shall be the patent holder. The payer of renewal fees for a European patent shall be the holder of the European patent with effects for any Contracting state.
Any Contracting state shall be exempted from payment of renewal fees.
Renewal fees for a patent shall be paid for individual years of duration of a patent, starting from the day of filing of an invention application.
Unless the due renewal fee is paid in the required amount, the Office shall invite the payer to pay the remaining amount within 15 days from delivery of the invitation. After the lapse of time without any actions taken, the renewal fee shall be deemed unpaid.
The renewal fee can be duly paid no earlier than one year before its due date. The Office shall recognise the renewal fee, which was paid prematurely in the required amount, as duly paid only on the basis of a written request of the payer provided that it is paid in amount stipulated by Act.
Unless the renewal fee is paid within the required period of time or if it is deemed not paid, the payer can pay it additionally within 6 months from the due date. In this case the payer shall be obliged to pay, together with the due renewal fee, also penalty in amount equal to the due renewal fee.
The Office shall not return the paid renewal fee if a patent, a European patent or a supplementary certificate was terminated or cancelled after its payment, including the renewal fee paid prematurely.