The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has just announced a decision that entered into force on 21 October 2008, but was apparently only made public yesterday. Fortunately, the actual effect of this will not be felt until 1 April 2009 when various other changes to the EPC are due to come into force.
"(1) The filing fee and search fee shall be paid within one month of filing the European patent application.
(2) The Rules relating to Fees may provide for an additional fee as part of the filing fee if the application comprises more than 35 pages.
(3) The additional fee referred to in paragraph 2 shall be paid within one month of filing the European patent application or one month of filing the first set of claims or one month of filing the certified copy referred to in Rule 40, paragraph 3, whichever period expires last."
Although there is already a page charge for having applications granted (under Rule 71(3) and A2 of the Rules relating to fees), this new fee will be payable for applications on filing. The actual fee has already been set by a previous decision at 12 Euros, although no prizes are offered for predicting that this will rise between now and next April (thanks to the commenter below for the reminder). The IPKat very much hopes that the EPO have learned some lessons in basic economics from the results of their decision to dramatically raise claims fees (by 400%) earlier this year, which appears to have backfired somewhat. Even the IPKat knows that if you raise taxes too much the likely effect will be to cause revenues to go down, as people make more efforts to avoid paying them. Would any readers care to take a guess at to what the page charges are actually going to be (or even what they should be)? Will they be the same, more or less than the 12 Euros already set?