Changes to language-related fee reductions


Marianne Holme

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