The UK IPO has announced a revised fee structure for patent applications from the 6 April 2010.
At present there are three fees payable to achieve a granted UK patent: filing, search, and examination [of the results from the search]. The cost is £200 in all but if electronic means only are used the discounts mean £170 is payable.
The new structure means the cost is £280 but if electronic means only are used the discounts mean £230 is payable.
A new charge of £350 is payable if the proceedings are contested [by another party objecting to the grant].
The annual renewal fees to keep the patent in force for its full term are also going up. At present the total fees amount to £3310. They are rising to £4550, an increase of 37%. The IPO policy has always been to subsidise the application process from the renewal fees. The idea is to encourage applications while deriving money from those with profitable inventions, who will pay the renewal fees.
The IPO response to the consultation gives an idea of the comments made in reply by 33 people or organisations, and the reasoning behind the new structure. It is interesting that of the 33, only 5 were patent attorneys, while most of the rest were university-level institutions. I would have expected a good response from industrial companies.