Patent protection is an investment. While there is a general timeline for patent applications how long it will take to convince the patent office examiner that your patent application meets the requirements varies. Meaning that the number of official actions and how many European patent renewals payable also varies. This variation will impact the costs, however, on average, it costs £19,000 including official fees and service fees to get a European patent application drafted through to grant. The costs to validate the European Patent in the required member states can significantly increase the cost and on average, an additional £3000 per member state should be added to the average cost to get the patent to grant to get the overall costs for obtaining European patent protection. The costs are reviewed stage by stage below.

1. Pre-Filing

The first stage is to draft the patent application. The costs for drafting on average are between £3000 and £5500. The cost is for the time spent by a patent attorney to understand the invention and translate this into a patent application. Therefore, the costs vary dependant on the complexity of the invention and the time needed to draft the application.

2. Filing

The official fees which must be paid on filing will depend on the type of filing. In addition to the official fees, the patent attorney firm will also charge a service fee that covers the administration costs of lodging the application, add the case to the firm’s records management system, docketing of the case, and reporting. The Service fee will vary by firm, but the average fee is £1000.

For Non-convention, Convention and Divisional filings the filing (€125 online), search (€1350), excess claims fees (€245 claims 16-50, €610 every claim over 50) and excess pages fees (€16 36th page on) can be paid on filing but must be paid 1 month from the filing date.

Euro-PCT filings the filing fee, search fee, and excess page fees, must be paid on filing.

3. Examination

For Non-convention and Convention filings the Examination fee (€1700) can be paid on filing but must be paid 6 months from publication of the search report.

Euro-PCT filings Examination fee are due on filing or 6 months from publication of the International Search Report, whichever deadline is later.

4. Designation

For Non-convention and Convention filings the Designation fee (€610) can be paid on filing but must be paid 6 months from publication of the search report.

Euro-PCT the Designation fee are due on filing or 6 months from publication of the International Search Report, whichever deadline is later.

5. Extension/Validation States

For Non-convention and Convention filings the Extension fee for Bosnia and Herzegovina or Montenegro (€102 per extension) and the/or Validation state fee (Morocco €240; Republic of Moldova €200; Tunisia €180 or Cambodia €180) can be paid on filing but must be paid 6 months from publication of the search report.

Euro-PCT the Extension and/or Validation state fee are due on filing or 6 months from publication of the International Search Report, whichever deadline is later.

The total estimated costs for filing, examination and designation, including official fees and service fee is £4800. This is without any excess pages fee, claims fees, extension states or validation states.

6. Renewal

The first renewal fee (€490) is due 2 years from the filing date (and is payable on the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the filing date).

For Euro-PCT applications, the renewal fee can be paid on filing but must be paid by the date outlined above.

Renewals are payable to the European Patent Office (EPO) yearly thereafter until the patent application grants. As the average application takes 5 years to grant, the average cost for renewals will be £4700 including service fees and official fees.

For more on renewals please refer to the article. Everything you need to know about Renewals

7. Prosecution

During the prosecution stage of the application, the examiner will issue official actions/examination reports. There are no official fees associated with responding to the reports. On average two official actions are issued. The costs associated with responding to the official actions will vary depending on the complexity and the time required by the patent attorney to respond, but on average the cost is £1000 per report. The total estimated cost for this stage is £2000.

8. Allowance/Intention to Grant

The official fee for grant and printing (€960) must be paid 4 months from the date of the Rule 71(3) Communication – Intention to Grant as well as the costs for the translation of the claims into the other two official languages of the EPO, other than the official language of the application. On average the costs of translations are £500. The patent attorney will also charge a service fee for lodging the response and getting the translations prepared. The average service fee is £500. The total estimated cost for this stage is £1960.

9. Validation

The European Patent application needs to be validated in each designated country required 3 months from the date of grant. The costs vary depending on each country and that country’s requirements. The average cost per country is £3000 but can be significantly more depending on translation costs required for the member state. To validate in all 38 states would cost on average £114,000.

*all official fees quoted are accurate as of May 2021