WIPO has finally approved its budget for the 2008/2009 financial year. One of the consequences appears to be a big reduction in the International Filing Fee after July 2008 for applicants/inventors who are Singapore residents or nationals.

Among the changes in the budget is a general reduction in the international filing fee by 5%, from 1,400 Swiss Francs to 1,300 Swiss Francs. This is the headline rate that applicants from “developed” countries pay. This change applies from 1st July 2008.

Applicants from certain countries have for some time been entitled to a heavily reduced rate for the international filing fee. These countries are currently those whose GDP is less than US$3,000 or are classed as “least developed countries” by the United Nations. The current reduction is 75%; with the new budget, the reduction is increased to 90%, i.e., the filing fee is only 10% of the headline rate.

More interestingly, WIPO has apparently included a further list of countries to which this heavy discount applies. Included in this list is Singapore. According to the WIPO press release:

“The agreement included a decision to reduce the international filing fee under the PCT by 5% (this means that the international filing fee will fall from 1,400 SFr to 1,330 SFr) and to increase the reduction from 75% to 90% for countries whose per capita national income is below US$3,000, as well as to Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates. This fee reduction will be effective from 1 July 2008.”

It would therefore seem that for PCT applications filed on or after 1st July 2008 in which the applicants are Singapore citizens or residents, the PCT filing fee should drop dramatically from the current S$1,790 to something in the region of S$180 or so. This represents a substantial saving of S$1,610.

The fee reduction should make it even more attractive to file PCT applications for Singapore entities individuals. For PCT applications that are not time critical, and which would otherwise have been filed before 1st July 2008, it may be desirable to delay filing until the new fees take effect, in order to take advantage of the discount.

Clarification 15 April 2008: WIPO has confirmed that the fee reduction is only available to applicants who are Singapore individuals, not corporations

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