We are always pleased when the cost of something is reduced. In 2013, the application fee for a Community Plant Variety Right was reduced from EUR 900 to EUR 650. On 1st January this year, the annual fee for CPVR was reduced from EUR 300 to EUR 250.

However, prices going down is a rare event. Prices going up seems more common.

The CPVO has been conducting a review of the fees it pays to the various national “competent authorities” that conduct DUS examinations of plant material subject to a PVR application. These include GEVES in France, the Bundesortenamt in Germany, the Naktuinbouw in the Netherlands and NIAB here in the UK. The fees are reviewed every three years or so and are calculated and negotiated based on the average costs incurred by the examination centres over the preceding three years. This process was completed in 2013 (relating to costs in the period 2010 to 2012) and has resulted in an average increase of 10% in fees paid by the CPVO to the examination centres.

The CPVO is now working on the second part of this fees review, which covers the fees levied by the CPVO to applicants for DUS examintion. The last review of fees was carried out six years ago, in 2008, with the new fees effective from 1 January 2009. The CPVO intends to propose a new fee structure to the European Commission, along with a simplification of the fee groups scheme (whereby different genera with similar examination requirements are grouped together with the same fee). This proposal should be completed later this year, with the new fees likely to become effective on 1 January 2015.

It seems almost certain that the DUS examination fees payable by applicants will increase. An increase of at least 10% seems probable, perhaps a little more (although the CPVO runs at a surplus and has undertaken to reduce that surplus).

Applicants should note that the DUS examination fee due for payment will be the fee applicable at the time that the DUS examination commences, not the fee applicable at the time of application. Therefore, it is almost certain that all applications made from now on (and many recently submitted) will be subject to DUS fees in the new structure, at the new higher rate.