https://www.epo.org/en/node/micro-entities-now-saving-more-eu1-million-thanks-fee-reduction-s

​​Micro-entities now saving more than €1 million thanks to fee reduction​s

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​Latest figures show popularity of new scheme in first three months

With new fee discounts effective since 1 April, the positive uptake among micro-entities confirms the objectives with which the Administrative Council adopted the fee policy review in 2023. 

​To promote the EPO’s long-term sustainability, a budget-neutral fee policy reform was introduced, featuring targeted fee discounts to enhance access to the patent system for underrepresented micro-entities with moderate fee adjustments. In 2023, the EPO mitigated the impact of double-digit inflation from the pandemic with an exceptional below-inflation fee adjustment. As of 1 April, the EPO has implemented the fee reform, replacing regular inflation-based fee adjustments until 2026.  

​The revised fee structure offers micro-enterprises, natural persons, non-profit organisations, universities and public research organisations a 30% reduction on all main fees in the patent granting process. Up to today, eligible micro-entities have enjoyed more than €1 million in savings under this scheme, benefitting over 1 900 applications and resulting in more than 4 000 reduced fees. Over 70% of all requests stem from users based in EPC Member States; the top ten countries being Italy, Germany, UK, France, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, Poland, Sweden and Austria. The overall share of beneficiaries among applicants remained at 2%.  

​With the targeted fee discounts, the EPO is living up to the commitment of helping underrepresented key players in the innovation ecosystem protect, at lower cost, their most valuable inventions resulting from extensive investments of time and effort over many years. These fee discounts are part of an increasing range of complementary measures aimed at enhancing the accessibility of the patent system. The measures include the established language-related fee discounts as well as the Deep Tech Finder launched by the EPO’s Observatory on Patents and Technology last year - a free digital tool to help investors detect and assess European startups that are bringing inventions to market in critical technology areas. 

​How to request the fee reduction 

​The micro-entity fee reduction is available for new and for pending applications, provided that the micro-entity has not filed five or more previous applications in the past five years. It can be combined with other fee reductions, in particular with language-related fee reductions. Both can be easily requested – just check the right box in the electronic form provided by the EPO: form 1001 (“Request for grant of a European patent”), form 1200 (“Entry into the European phase”) or, for pending applications, form 1011 (“Declaration for microenterprises, SMEs, …”).