Inflation adjusted EPO fees will increase by an average of about 4.3%, although the European Search Fee will rise by about 10.3% (to EUR 1285) in order to bring it more into line with the cost of an International Search carried out by the EPO as International Search Authority (EUR 1875). At the same time the EPO will implement more substantial changes to the appeal fee and introduce a new fee for filing second and higher generation divisional applications.
The appeal fee will rise 50% to EUR 1860. As of 01 April 2014, Rule 103 EPC (reimbursement of appeal fee) has been amended to extend the possibility of obtaining a 50% refund of the appeal fee to situations after the deadline for filing the Grounds of Appeal has expired. The EPO consider that allowing a partial reimbursement after the deadline for filing the Grounds of Appeal will provide parties with an incentive to reflect on whether or not to proceed with appeal proceedings and thus may have a positive effect on the Appeal Boards’ workload and thus appeal pendency times.
New Fee for Divisional Applications
Rule 36 EPC is being amended to once more allow the filing of divisional applications at any time, provided that the parent application is still pending. However, in an attempt to discourage applicants from filing long sequences of divisional applications (a practice that the EPO consider detrimental to the legal certainty of third parties as well as increasing office workload), the EPO propose to levy an additional fee for second and higher generation divisional applications. The additional fee will not be incurred by a first generation divisional application, but the fee for higher generation divisionals will progressively increase. The fee for divisional application of second generation will be EUR 210, of third generation EUR 420, of fourth generation EUR 630 and of fifth or higher generation EUR 840.