The fees of the EPO will shortly be increased by about 5%. The EPO compensates the fees for inflation each two years; the period of two years is a compromise between frequent compensation for inflation and administrative effort of such a fee change.
The increased amounts will apply to payments made on or after 1 April 2012, i.e. payments actually entered in an EPO bank account on or after that date. Exceptionally, the increased amounts of the international search fee and the transmittal fee apply to international applications filed on or after 1 April 2012. If within six months of a fee increase the old amount of the fee is paid, the fee will be regarded validly paid if the deficit is paid within two months of an invitation from the EPO. The new amounts and the transitional provisions have been published in the Official Journal of the EPO of 2011, page 616.
It is possible to make advance payments to avoid the fee increase, provided the fee can be paid before 1 April 2012. For example, an examination fee for a European patent application (for which the six-month time limit for payment of the examination fee has not yet expired) can be paid from the date of filing until 31 March 2012 at an amount of € 1480; the amount as from 1 April is € 1555. Note, that a renewal fee may be paid only three months in advance of its due date.
The fees for entry into the European regional phase of an international application for which the 31-month period expires on or after 1 April 2012 can also be paid before that date. However, this applies to the renewal fee in respect of the third year only if its due date is 30 June 2012 or earlier.
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