Cost Of A European Patent

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European Patent Cost

Securing a patent is both expensive as well as time-consuming. It involves a considerable investment regardless of the country one files it in. The rules of filing costs, and patent granting bodies vary in each country. In Europe, the European Patent Office (EPO) is responsible for examining patent applications and granting patents. The patents thus granted by the EPO on payment of a European Patent Office fees are called European Patents.   

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EPO and European Patents 

The European Patent Organisation has two wings, namely, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Administrative Council. While the former is the administrative body, the latter acts as a supervisory one. The EPO is a central body that charges a European Patent Office fees for providing a single patent grant procedure to applicants. However, this does not imply that the patent will be recognised by all countries of the EU. It has also been endowed with the responsibility of establishing the patentability search reports for patent applications on behalf of the patent offices of some EU members. 

A European Patent Application comprises: 

  1. Grant request 
  2. A detailed description of the claims of the invention 
  3. Patent Drawings (if any) 
  4. An abstract 

English, French, and German are the official languages of the EPO. If the patent is in a language other than these then it must be accompanied by a translation. If the applicant resides outside of the EU, then the services of a professional representative are mandatory along with a European patent Office fees. 

Cost Breakdown of European Patent 

The total amount inclusive of official and service fees costs approximately £19,000 from the drafting of the patent to the final grant. Below we discuss how much is a patent UK and the fees involved at various stages of obtaining a patent from the EPO  

The pre-filing or drafting is the first stage of applying for a patent. the drafting costs range between £3000 and £5500. This fee is charged as compensation for the time spent by the patent attorney in interpreting the invention and translating it into an application. Complex applications cost more as they require more time to draft. 

In the filing stage, the expenses accrued are the official filing fee and the attorney fee. The attorney fee covers the charges of filing the application, maintaining a record of the case with the firm, as well as docketing and reporting the case. In most cases, the service fee is capped at £1000. For Non-convention, Convention, and Divisional filing, the charges are as follows: 

  • Filing: €125 online 
  • Search: €1350 
  • Excess claims fee: €245 (€610 for every claim over 50) 
  • Excess Pages Fee: €16 (36th page onwards )

A standard fee of €1700 is charged for Non-convention and Convention filings. The timeline for paying the examination fee is on the filing date or 6 months from the publication of the International Search Report, whichever is later.  

The designation fee charged is €610 and all the available 38 states are included in this. Once a patent is granted the patentee may validate the patent nationally in one or more designated states by paying the required fee. The deadline for payment is upon filing or 6 months from publication in the European Search Report. This applies to patents filed directly with the EPO. A late payment surcharge of 50% is applicable if the deadline is missed. 

Extension States refer to countries which have an agreement with the EPO for the extension of a European Patent Application in their country. This can be done upon the payment of an additional fee termed the validation/extension fee. The charges for the extension fee are different for each country: 

  • Morocco €240 
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina or Montenegro €102 
  • Republic of Moldova €200 
  • Cambodia €180 
  • Tunisia €180 

The fee must be paid at the time of filing or within 6 months from publication of the International Search Report, whichever is later. 

The renewal fee on a European patent is applicable after 2 years of securing the patent and payable on the last day of the month of filing the patent. There’s also an option to pay the same at the time of filing for Euro-PCT applications. After the 3rd year, the renewal fee must be paid yearly to the European Patent Office. The cost for renewals amounts to £4700 including service and official fees. 20 years is the maximum life of a patent granted by the EPO.  

This stage involves the issuance of reports or official actions by the patent examiner. While there is no official fee at this stage, it does require an attorney fee for responding to the official actions. The rates stand at £1000 per report. On average two official reports are issues, so the total charges at this stage are £2000. 

Under Rule 71 (3) EPC, the Examining Division of the EPO issues a communication to the patent applicant to inform them of their intention to issue a patent based on the application. This claim is then translated into two official languages of the EPO. Upon receiving the directive, the applicant must pay the grant and publishing fee to the EPO. The charges for grant and printing are €960 and £500 for translations. The attorney firm charges a service fee of £500, which takes the total expenses at this stage to £1960. 

Once the patent is granted, the next stage is validation in designated countries. This step needs to be completed within 3 months from the date of grant. An average payment of £3000 per country is compulsory for validation. In certain contracting states, the patent further needs to undergo a validation process for it to be fully enforceable.  

Conclusion

European Patents are usually expensive considering one needs to pay a separate fee for each designated country per current rules. The market awaits the welcoming news of a Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court that could become a reality by 2023. Once established, this new patent court will become the centre for offering single, specialised patent jurisdiction for all participating States. This will make the entire process of patent application simpler, quicker, and less expensive.  

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