"I was recently at a gathering of the great and the good where it was disclosed to me, on the quiet, that the recent hike of the European Patent Office (EPO) excess claim fee has caught the office out. They now find themselves with more work to do and less income from this fee. The more work has resulted because practitioners are reforming the claims in ways which the office had not anticipated (placing alternatives into a single claim, for instance) and because the Examiners now feel they need to review the specific description more thoroughly, seeking out passages that look like potential future claims. Apparently, US-originating specifications are now appearing with claim-like passages being placed at the end of the specific description. The office is getting virtually no money from the excess claim fees because almost everyone is now reducing the claim numbers to 15, as a matter of course.Thank you, little bird!
Apparently, the office has admitted they got it wrong in this instance – next time they consider making similar changes we might find that the Office consults with the professionals first.
However, there is a down side. The office now needs to make up for the shortfall in excess claim fees and we should watch out for increases in other fees as a result".
For comments on excess claim fees see here, here and here