Tuesday, 7 June 2016

But is it appealing?

A proposal to increase the appeal fees at the EPO has received recent comment on IPKat.

It is interesting to see the effect the last big increase in appeal fees (a 50% increase as of 1st April 2014) had on appeal behaviour.

From the Annual Reports of the Boards of Appeal one can derive the following table of appeals filed:-
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
ex parte appeals filed 1226 1241 1310 1242 1200 996 864
inter partes appeals filed 1249 1301 1347 1360 1315 1357 1523

This shows that the increase in fees has dramatically affected ex parte appeals, with appeals before the increase averaging at about 1200 a year and in the first full year after the increase amounting to only 864 appeals (a 28% decrease).

The increase in fees has affected inter partes appeals less, with the number of appeals in opposition roughly tracking the number of grants (roughly 2.5% of grants end up with an appeal in opposition).

If a mere 50% increase in appeal fee has resulted in such a drastic change in applicant behaviour, what effect might the huge proposed increase have?

It is to be hoped that the Administrative Council will recognise that an effective appeal system is essential to maintaining quality at the EPO, and will not increase the appeal fee [at all].

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