Changes in the amounts and fee system of the EPO and support for micro-enterprises

Starting from April 1, 2024, the European Patent Office (EPO) is implementing crucial changes to its fee structure, significantly affecting European patent applications and Euro-PCT applications. Amid annual fee increases, the introduction of a new fee reduction scheme for ‘micro-entities’ marks a pivotal moment for smaller and less experienced organizations, aiming to make access to the European patent system more equitable and support their growth.

Check the Official Journal of the EPO

New benefits for micro-enterprises regardless of nationality and residence

However, with this change, all companies that meet the new ‘micro-entity’ category will be able to benefit from a 30% reduction regardless of nationality or residence. This applies to companies with less than ten employees and an annual turnover of less than 2 million euros. Mainly, this reduction covers filing, search, examination, and various other fees, provided that the applicant has submitted less than five patent applications in the last five years.

How to take advantage of this fee reduction expansion

Demonstrating the ‘micro-entity’ category involves making a statement before the EPO, similar to the process for small entities, but with EPO eligibility checks to ensure compliance. Incorrect declarations may lead to applications being considered withdrawn, underlining the importance of an accurate and correct representation that the ‘micro-entity’ category is met.

Existing benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises

The EPO already offers benefits to ‘small entities,’ including individuals, non-profit organizations, universities, and public research organizations, among others. These entities enjoy a 30% reduction in filing and examination fees if they operate within a contracting state with an official language other than English, French or German and submit applicatiosn or requests of examination in that official language. Other current benefits include reduced appeal fees and a lump sum compensation for translation costs related to the Unitary Patent.

Who can benefit from the EPO’s fee reductions?

Those companies that could already benefit from being from an EPC member country (European Patent Convention) and meet the following requirements:

  • Individuals;
  • Non-profit organizations, universities, and public research organizations;
  • Micro-enterprises (including self-employed);
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

And from April 1, companies can also benefit, regardless of their nationality or residence, provided they are micro-entities, according to the European Commission’s micro-enterprise definition:

  • Less than 10 employees.
  • An annual turnover of less than 2 million euros.

Fee increases from April 1, 2024

Furthermore, the European Patent Office (EPO) will increase its general fees from April 1, 2024, with increases of approximately 5% for most and up to 30% for certain annuities. Applicants can save if they pay annuities or submit applications before this date.

EPO Updated Fee Schedule

Here is an overview of the updated fees set by the European Patent Office starting from April 1, 2024, along with their current amounts for comparison:

Fee typeNew amount from April 1, 2024 (EUR)Current amount (EUR)
Filing fee – online135.00135.00
European search fee1,520.001,460.00
Designation fee685.00660.00
Examination fee1,915.001,840.00
Grant and printing fee1,080.001,040.00
Opposition fee880.00880.00
Appeal fee2,015.002,015.00
Fee per claim from 16th to 50th275.00265.00
Renewal fee for the 3rd year690.00530.00
Renewal fee for the 4th year845.00660.00
Renewal fee for the 5th year1,000.00925.00
Renewal fee for the 6th year1,155.001,180.00
Renewal fee for the 7th year1,310.001,305.00
Renewal fee for the 8th year1,465.001,440.00
Renewal fee for the 9th year1,620.001,570.00
Renewal fee from the 10th year1,775.001,775.00

If you have any questions about the EPO's fee system, contact us without obligation.

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