Rule 6 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), set out in a Notice from the European Patent Office (EPO) dated January 10, 2014, introduced changes to the EPO’s old language-related fee-reduction system.
The new EPC Rule 6 entered into force on April 1, from which date “small applicants” who are either nationals, even though they reside abroad, or have a principal place of business in an EPC contracting state with an official language other than English, French or German, may benefit from a reduction of 30 percent of the filing fee and the examination fee, 10 percent more than previously.
The definition of a small applicant has three categories:
- Natural persons;
- Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are businesses that according to their latest approved annual accounts:
o Employ fewer than 250 people; and
EPC; EPO; PCT