Posted on 15/2/2024

Feeling Good: The EPO discounts fees for micro-entities

The European Patent Office has announced a new scheme that reduces fees for ‘micro-entities’.

The European Patent Office (EPO) recently announced a new scheme that will allow, from 1 April 2024, fees related to the prosecution of a European patent application to be reduced by 30% for so called “micro-entities”.

The scheme will apply to the vast majority of fees payable at the EPO, including the search, examination, designation and grant fees as well as renewal fees. The reduction of these fees that will apply under the scheme is shown in the table below:

Fee Type Usual Fee (as applicable on 1 April 2024) Reduction Applied (for applicants
using the
Fee Payable (including reduction)
Filing €135 €41 €94
Search €1520 €456 €1064
Examination €1915 €575 €1340
Designation €685 €205 €480
Grant €1080 €324 €756
First renewal €690 €207 €483


The scheme therefore provides very significant discounts on relevant fees and is applicable to both European applications that are directly filed at the EPO and that are derived from a PCT application.

The scheme applies to the following micro-entities (irrespective of their location):

  1. Natural Persons;
  2. Non-profit organisations, universities, and public research organisations; and
  3. Microenterprises (these are defined as commercial entities that employ less than 10 people and have a turnover of less than 2 million Euros).

The scheme applies only to micro-entities that have filed less than five European patent applications in the last five years so frequent filers at the EPO will be excluded from the scheme. Further, in the case where an application is filed by multiple applicants all of those applicants must be eligible to take part in the scheme.

To take part in the scheme an applicant must file a declaration that they are a suitable entity. The EPO have stated that they may check the eligibility of applicants to take part in the scheme at any time during the grant procedure, and if they find that a non-eligible applicant is taking part in the scheme any fees for which a discount has been claimed will be deemed not to have been paid. Although it may be possible to rescue the situation, there is the potential for this to be terminal for an application, so it is strongly recommended that only applicants that can easily show they are eligible to take part make use of the scheme.

Overall, the scheme is to be welcomed in the challenging operating environment, and the scheme brings the EPO more into line with other Patent Offices such as the US PTO that offer significant discounts to small applicants.

If you would like any advice in relation to the new scheme, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Wilson Gunn