On 6 April 2018, the UK Intellectual Property Office is making small increases to most of its fees. In addition, excess claims and page fees are being introduced. Full details of the fee changes are shown below.

This briefing note explains the impact of these changes on your business, which will depend on the role UK patent applications play within your patent strategy.

UK priority date

It will remain possible to file a UK patent application without paying any fees. Thus, a priority date can still be established without incurring patent office fees. Consequently, the UK remains an attractive option for a first filing. 

Search and examination of UK application

Search and examination by the UK Intellectual Property Office are widely recognised as being of a high quality, so it can be helpful to get a priority application searched in the UK. 

To obtain a search of a UK application, it is necessary to pay an application fee and a search fee.  Both of these will increase slightly after 6 April 2018 and the application fee will incur a small surcharge if you choose to pay this only after filing the application. A more significant change is the introduction of excess claims fees of £20 for each claim over 25.

The examination fee will also increase slightly and, in addition, excess page fees of £10 for each page over 35 will apply. 

UK national phase of International applications

The increased application, search, and examination fees, and the new excess claims and page fees will apply to International applications entering the UK national phase. 

It is worth noting that at the grant stage, excess claims fees will be payable if the number of excess claims have increased since the search fee was paid. However, this only applies to applications where the search fee was paid on or after 6 April 2018. Similarly, excess page fees will be payable if the number of excess pages have increased since the examination fee was paid. Again, this will only apply to applications where the examination fee was paid on or after 6 April 2018. 

Recommended Actions

If any new UK filings are contemplated in the near future, it may be worth taking steps to ensure that they are filed before 6 April 2018 to prevent incurring these additional costs.

Where UK national phase entry of a pending PCT application is desired, early entry to the UK national phase could be requested before 6 April 2018. PCT applications entering the UK national phase after 6 April 2018 may be amended to reduce or avoid any excess claims or page fees.

In respect of any pending UK applications for which application, search and/or examination fees have not yet been paid, it is again worth considering paying these fees before 6 April 2018. 

The excess claims and page fees should be taken into account when drafting new UK applications and we will certainly be mindful of this when we are drafting any applications. UK search and examination will continue to represent excellent value, provided that the total number of claims and pages of the specification are kept under control.

If you have any queries regarding any of these changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Table of pre-grant and grant fee increases for electronic filings

*plus excess claims fee

**where the international application has already been searched in the international phase

***plus excess pages fee

Table of renewal fee increases