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Story 16 April 2024

European Patent Office implements significant fee reductions to empower innovators

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As of 1 April 2024, the European Patent Office (EPO) has initiated substantial reductions in fees, tailored specifically to support smaller applicants, first-timers and other innovators who may have limited experience with the patent system. This strategic move aims to foster a more inclusive and vibrant innovation landscape across Europe and beyond. 


Under the new fee structure, micro-entities, including sole applicants, public research organisations, non-profit entities, universities and enterprises with fewer than 10 employees, are eligible for a remarkable 30% reduction in main application fees. This reduction is applicable to micro-entities that have filed fewer than five European patent applications in the past five years. Importantly, these reductions can be combined with existing support measures, regardless of the stage of the application process. 


These fee reductions come as part of a comprehensive review of the EPO's fee system by the Administrative Council, reflecting the organisation's commitment to simplifying processes, incentivising digitalisation and ensuring financial sustainability. The package of fee measures not only introduces dedicated reductions for micro-entities but also streamlines the fee system and provides incentives for further digitalisation. 


In addition to reduced main application fees, micro-entities will also benefit from reductions in all main fees throughout the patent grant process. This initiative builds upon existing support measures for small and medium-sized entities, including reduced filing and examination fees for applications in official languages other than English, French or German, a compensation lump sum for Unitary Patent-related translation costs and a reduced appeal fee. 


Furthermore, additional support measures have been introduced, including zero-fee reductions for users of the MyEPO Portfolio online service aimed at encouraging its utilisation. The fee system has also been simplified by abolishing five rarely used fees, enhancing transparency and user-friendliness. 


To ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the organisation, moderate fee increases have been implemented to offset the impact of high inflation and reduced income. Procedural fees, with the exception of filing, opposition and appeal fees, have been adjusted by only 4%, keeping them below the real inflation rate. Additionally, the structure of internal renewal fees has been aligned with operational efficiency, resulting in an overall decrease in fees since 2016. 


In light of these comprehensive fee changes, there will be no biennial inflation adjustment in 2025, which would typically apply in the regular two-year cycle. For further information on these fee reductions, including eligibility criteria and application procedures, applicants are encouraged to consult the EPO's FAQ  and step-by-step guide published on (sub-section ‘Fee reductions for SMEs, microenterprises and other applicants’). Additionally, the EPO's support team is available to address any questions or concerns regarding these new measures. 


In conclusion, the EPO's implementation of significant fee reductions represents an important milestone in advancing innovation and supporting small entities within the patent system. By lowering barriers to entry and providing financial incentives, the EPO is fostering an environment where creativity and entrepreneurship can flourish, ultimately driving forward progress and innovation in Europe and beyond. 

The related legal publications can be accessed via the links in the EPO’s news publication

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interest of knowledge sharing and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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