CHANGES TO EUROPEAN PATENT PROCEDURE FROM 1 APRIL 2014
The European Patent Office is raising almost all its fees as from 1 April 2014. Most fees will be raised by around 5%. However, the search fee will be raised by around 10% to Euro 1,285 and the appeal fee is increased by a 50% to EUR 1,860.
These fees are due for all payments made on or after 1 April 2014.
New rules on European divisional applications
As from 1 April 2014 divisional applications can be filed for any pending European patent application. The previous distinction between “voluntary” divisional applications and “compulsory” divisional applications, together with the associated 24-month deadline introduced on 1 April 2010, is therefore removed.
This rule is valid for all divisional application filed from 1 April 2014. It is also valid for any pending patent applications for which the previous 24-month deadline had applied. In other words, the window for filing divisional applications has been removed. They can now be filed as long as the parent application is pending.
In future, divisional applications, which are themselves divided out of previous divisional applications, will attract a supplementary fee. This fee ranges from Euros 210 for such a “second generation” application to Euros 840 for a fifth and higher generation application.
The increase in fees for European patent applications is to be regretted, but the changes to the provisions on European divisional applications are to be welcomed. The artificial deadline of 24 months for filing a divisional application will be removed and applicants will in the future have a great deal more flexibility as to when they can file the divisional application.
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