What will the Unitary Patent cost?

Filing fees – These will be the same as before the EPO now.

Prosecution costs (attorney fees) – These will be the same as before the EPO now.

Translation costs – For at least six and potentially up to 12 years, all UPs will have their whole description (not just the claims) filed or translated into English. Most EPs are already filed in English. Those applications filed in English will be translated into one other EU language, but this does not need to be German or French: an applicant from Sweden might choose Swedish, for instance. In addition, the claims of all accepted applications must be translated into English, French and German before grant, as presently.

Validation fees – The UP dispenses with the traditional “validation” fees, ie the cost of preparing partial or complete translations of the granted patent for each country, save for those EPC countries which are not signatories to the UPC Agreement.

Renewal fees – The Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the EPO has voted to adopt a fee proposal named “true TOP4”, which tracks the sum of the post-grant renewal fees that would be payable in the four most commonly validated countries over the entire patent term. It follows that the cost of a UP to a patentee will be cheaper overall than maintaining a large bundle of national rights, but would be more expensive to a patentee who validates only in a handful of countries and maintains only some of those to the full term. At present over 50 per cent of all European patents are validated in three or fewer countries. For these patents the “true TOP4” proposal means an increase in maintenance costs but considerably greater coverage.

For SMEs –There will be a compensation scheme to help SMEs with the translation costs that will be incurred, if an EP application has been filed in a language that is not one of the official EPO languages, in order to have the application translated into English, French or German. This scheme will not just benefit SMEs but also universities, natural persons (that is, real people rather than corporate entities) and non-profit organisations. In each case, the party seeking compensation must be resident or have its principal place of business in a Member State.

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