As previously reported here, on 6 April 2018 the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) introduced a number of changes to official fees for UK patent applications. Questions however had been raised regarding non-payment or partial payment of excess claims and excess page fees. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) has since liaised with the UKIPO to provide further information. Put simply non-payment of the excess claims fee or the excess page fee can lead to deemed withdrawal of the application.
CIPA suggests that if the excess claims fee is not paid at the time of filing a search request, then the UK IPO will request payment of the outstanding balance from the applicant or its representative. However, if the excess claim fee is not paid by the deadline for filing the search request, which can be extended for a fee, then the application is deemed withdrawn.
Due to the severe consequences of the non-payment of these fees, the UKIPO is recommending applicants to file search and examination requests as early as possible. By filing both requests early, applicants will have time to rectify any possible defects and underpayments of fees.
The UKIPO also confirmed that if more than 25 claims are filed, it will not be possible to specify which 25 claims will be subject to the search. However, in order to reduce the excess claims and page fees, applicants will still be able to amend their application before filing the requests for search and/or examination, thereby avoiding extra fees and the uncertainty over which claims will be searched.