As of 1 April 2009, the European Patent Office (EPO) is introducing several changes to its fee structure. Most notable is the fact that the EPO will now be levying a charge of €12 for each page over 35 when filing a European patent application, a European divisional application or when a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application enters the European regional phase. The number of pages taken into account include the specification, claims, drawings, and abstract. However, sequence listings are exempted provided they are presented in a separate part of the description, and are in accordance with World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) standard ST.25.
Other changes include levying a new €500 fee for each claim beyond the 50th (each claim between the 16th and the 49th still attracting a fee of €200 per claim).
Consequently, applicants intending to file European patent applications (including divisional applications), or intending to enter the European regional phase based on a PCT application may wish to urgently consider doing so prior to 1 April 2009 in order to avoid these additional fees.
Most savings can be made in cases where the specification contains large numbers of pages. For example, a case with 150 pages will cost $1725 more to file at the EPO after 1 April 2009.
Likewise, further significant savings can be made in cases with large numbers of claims, either by retaining all original claims and filing before 1 April 2009, or by amending to reduce claims ahead of filing in Europe.