UK-IPO: more money please

The UK-IPO have just announced a consultation on proposals for introducing changes to the fees charged for getting and keeping UK patents. The proposed changes are many and various, and can be digested in detail by reading the consultation document itself. These include:
  • substantial (roughly doubling) increases to search and examination fees;
  • the introduction of excess claims fees (although not quite at the level of the EPO);
  • increased renewal fees;
  • a new fee for contested proceedings; and
  • a new fee for recording registrable transactions under section 32.
The IPO's reasoning for many of the increases includes the fact that (amazingly) no substantial increases have been implemented since the early 1990s, and there apparently should be some 're-balancing' of the way the IPO's work is funded, since the cost of search and examination is at the moment mostly paid for by renewal fees.

The IPO want to know what you think about it, and will be welcoming answers to their 11 questions in the consultation until 12 October 2009.
UK-IPO: more money please UK-IPO: more money please Reviewed by David Pearce on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. Ummm .. didn't the IPO recently have a consultation about reducing a bunch of fees (see IPKat here)?

    Ok it's a different set of fees, but the new proposal appears to be contrary to the previously-stated aim of ensuring 'that businesses continue to protect their IP during the economic downturn'.

    I wonder how the proposed increase will be spun...

  2. The jusitification is that the Gower's review said we had to. The spin is that the UK is still one of the cheapest countries in the world.

    I'm interested in the claims fees: the UKIPO partly justifies claims fees for each claim over the 15th on the grounds that the EPO do it. But where did the EPO come up with the magic number "15"?

    Trying to look this up reminded me again how hard it can be to track down Admin Council preparatory documents. Do they routinely get published somewhere I'm not looking? Help!

  3. Gerontius, a certain number of documents are available at the EPO staff union site:

    or you can google (another example of a TM being verbalized to the benefit of the TM owner) suepo

  4. What I don't get is...

    they say they are increasing the search and exam fees because the renewal fees are supporting search and examination...

    so.. surely renewal fees should be reduced, not increased...?

  5. Gowers failed to understand the "Robin Hood" principle on which the Patent Office (aka Intellectual Property Office) has operated for many years. The successful patentees who make enough money from their inventions to afford continual renewal fees subsidise the new inventors in their early days. This policy has been very beneficial to individual inventors and SMEs. His comments in his report were advisory not mandatory. Gowers is a money man not a lawyer or an inventor.


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