Registration fees for patents and designs will be slashed by more than 80 per cent to less than $1,000, a move which the government says will benefit the business sector. Fees for standard patents will be reduced from $5,340 to $896, while short-term patents will cost $823, down from $4,070. The cost of registering a design will fall from $3,420 to $940, according to the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau. On Wednesday, Financial Secretary Henry Tang gave the green light to review government fees and charges which have less impact on people's livelihoods and businesses. At Legco yesterday, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Frederick Ma Si-hang cited the patent charges as an example of how the review would not necessarily mean that fees increase. In a paper to lawmakers, the bureau said outsourcing of the registration services had enabled the government to scrap 32 clerical posts and save $9.6 million in staff costs each year. The process had also been computerised with the procedures streamlined for better efficiency, officials added. Based on full cost recovery, the new fees for patent and design registration will generate only an annual $15.8 million in revenue, almost half of the $30.1 million under the old charging regime. 'The business sector will be able to benefit,' the bureau said.