An impending increase of 20% in official fees was announced by the Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) in a public consultation held on June 15, 2015.  Under the Rules, the IPO is authorized to regularly evaluate the level of official fees and to increase the same when necessary.  The planned increase will cover official fees for all patent and trademark filings, but fees related to basic copyright filings will not increase.  The IPO also introduced new fees for patent services, including patent mapping, and those related to patent prosecution and accelerated substantive examination.

The IPO identified government programs, which shall be financed from income generated by the increase.  These are: (1) financing for the IPO’s application to be an International Search Authority (ISA); (2) creation of the Copyright Bureau and Enforcement Unit; (3) creation of Performance Governance System; (4) establishment of IPO Regional Offices; and (5) upgrading of IT related services.

The IPO reminded the public that there has been no increase in the fees since 2004 and that the 20% increase appears to be less than the last increase of 30%, which was implement between the years 1996 and 2000.

The new fees are expected to take into effect July 1, 2015 if the Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry shall have given his approval before then.  Representatives of law firms expressed concerns that the July 1, 2015 target date leaves little time to notify their clients of the impending increase.  They suggested that the increase be delayed for a period of 3 to 6 months in order to adequately prepare their clients for the fee increase.