Innovation is to become less expensive with lower fees for Swiss patents

Press Release, The Federal Council, 17.04.2019

The annual fees for Swiss patents are to be lowered meaning patent protection and, therefore, innovation are to become less expensive. This will benefit the Swiss economy and, in particular, SMEs. The Federal Council approved the amended Fee Ordinance of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) at its meeting of 17 April 2019. This fee change will come into effect on 1 July 2019.

The key points at a glance:

  • The Federal Council is lowering the annual fees for Swiss patents.
  • As a result, patent owners can save a total of up to 1440 Swiss francs. This will benefit innovative Swiss companies.
  • The change will take effect on 1 July 2019.

To keep a patent in force, annual fees have to be paid from the fourth year after applying for the grant of a patent. These annual fees are now being changed: they will become less expensive up until the 18th year after submitting a patent application; for the 19th and 20th years, however, they will become slightly more expensive. Annual fees also continue to increase in line with the term of the patent. With the new changes, this increase will initially be in smaller increments, and towards the end of the term of the patent, in increments larger than is currently the case. The aim of this progression is to keep the fees low at the beginning of the term of the patent when it is unclear whether the invention will be successful.

With the announced fee change, patent owners will save 1,440 Swiss francs over the entire maximum lifespan of a patent. Innovative Swiss companies, and SMEs in particular, will benefit from the lower fees.

Positive operating results allow for fee change

The IPI’s positive operating results have allowed for this fee reduction. Patent fees, in particular, have influenced these positive results, which is why these fees are now being adjusted. The fee change will lead to a reduced annual income of ca. 6.5 million Swiss francs for the IPI. This will slow down an increase in equity, which has risen in recent years; at the end of the business year (June 2018), equity was at around 65 million Swiss francs.

The IPI, once a federal office that was converted into an independent institute in 1996, finances itself from its own funds, primarily via fees for granting patent, trade mark and design protection. As a non-profit institute, the IPI is economical with its resources. Fees are set at a level which enables the IPI to have sufficient equity to maintain a balanced budget.

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