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No fee for opting out of the Unified Patent Court; reduced fees for SMEs

Date: 9 March 2016

The Preparatory Committee has published (25 February 2016) its [almost] final Rules on Court fees and recoverable costs, in which it has decided not to levy a fee for opting a patent out of the jurisdiction of the new court.


As a result of consultation following their May 2015 proposed fees, the committee has discerned a "clear consensus" that the opt-out fee (proposed at € 80) should be removed or lowered. Patentees object to paying a fee to opt out of a court that was not part of the European patent system when they filed their patent applications. With the IT systems under development, administration of opt-outs is minimal. Removing the fee eliminates the problem of how to process fee payments and generally reduces overall administration.


In the previous draft rules, the Committee put forward two alternative proposals for reduced costs for SMEs. In the final rules, neither scheme is adopted. Instead, there is a 40% discount scheme for SMEs as defined in Commission Recommendation No. 2003/361. There is no special treatment for non-profit organizations or universities.


Other aspects of the May 2015 draft rules have been adopted, including partial reimbursement of fees for early withdrawal of an action and (with minor tweaks) the levels of value-based fees and ceilings for recoverable costs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016