members of the select committee of the Admin Council tasked
with setting application and renewal fees for the new patent
begin their latest two-day meeting.
It is their first since the EPO floated two fee proposals
earlier this month. Its so-called TOP4 and TOP5 proposals are
based on, respectively, the cost of validating European patents
in the most popular four or five member states.
The decision about how much it will cost to apply for and
maintain a Unitary Patent was always going to be contentious,
since those setting the levels have to reconcile a number of
interests – including their own.
Industry has long-championed low fees (no surprise there).
But now it seems that
IP owners’ unwillingness to use the new system
if the figures don’t stack up in their favour has
got European Commission officials rattled.
On Friday we reported that senior members of DG Internal
Market had shared with the EPO "in no uncertain terms" its view
that the level of renewal fees is critical for the success of
the system. (
You can read more about what officials told us here).
After spending more than 40 years trying to get a
pan-European patent right in place, it is easy to understand
the bureaucrats’ frustration that it might be
stymied from the start by member states keen to maximise their
own financial share. The Commission enjoys merely observer
status at the select committee meetings. But it is intriguing
to think about what its representatives will be saying to
member states during the coffee breaks.
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