As part of the USPTO’s continued commitment to fiscal responsibility, financial prudence and operational efficiency the agency reviews fee levels on at least a biennial basis. The fee review process incorporates a thorough evaluation of the existing fee schedule as well as significant research and analysis on potential revisions to the schedule.
Section 10 of the AIA authorizes the Director of the USPTO to set or adjust by rule all patent and trademark fees established, authorized, or charged under Title 35 of the U.S. Code and the Trademark Act of 1946 (15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq.), respectively. When fees are set, the aggregate revenue from the patent fees may only recover the aggregate estimated cost of the patent operations, including administrative costs to the USPTO. Likewise, the aggregate revenue from the trademark fees may only recover the aggregate estimated cost of the trademark operations, also including administrative costs to the USPTO.
When the USPTO proposes to set or adjust fees for "filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents" as permitted by the AIA, those proposed fees will include a 50% reduction for small entities and a 75% reduction for micro entities as provided for in section 10(b) of the AIA. The applicants qualifying for a small entity discount (50%) will be those who meet the "small entity" definition in 35 U.S.C. § 41(h)(1). The applicants qualifying for a micro entity discount (75%) will be those who meet "micro entity" definition outlined in Section 11(g) of the AIA.
The AIA outlines the process that the USPTO will use when setting or adjusting fees by rule. This process is intended to be inclusive with two different points in time for the public to comment on proposed fee amounts.
Trademark Fee Setting and Adjusting Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Supplemental Materials
On May 27, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to set or increase certain trademark fees, as authorized by the AIA. The proposed fees will allow the Office to recover the aggregate estimated cost of Trademark and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) operations and USPTO administrative services that support Trademark operations. The supplemental materials in support of the NPRM are below.
Trademark Fee Setting and Adjusting Proposal to TPAC
On October 14, 2015, the Director of the USPTO notified the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) of the Office’s intent to set or adjust trademark fees and submitted a preliminary trademark fee proposal with supporting materials. The preliminary trademark fee proposal and associated materials are below.
Patent Fee Setting and Adjusting Proposal