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Thursday May 31, 2012

USPTO Issues Proposed Rules to Implement the Micro Entity Provision for Paying Discounted Patent Fees

From: Janet Gongola, Patent Reform Coordinator

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012 the agency published proposed rules in the Federal Register to implement the micro entity provision of the America Invents Act.  The proposed rules cover procedures for an applicant to claim micro entity status and to pay patents fees as a micro entity.  They also cover procedures for an applicant to notify the Office of the loss of micro entity status and to correct payments of patent fees erroneously paid in the micro entity amount.  For more details about the proposed rules, here is a link to the Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

Changes to Implement Micro Entity Status for Paying Patent Fees (77 Fed. Reg. 31806, May 30, 2012)

Notably, if an applicant establishes micro entity status, then the applicant qualifies for a seventy-five percent reduction in patent fees related to filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents.  The discount is not available, however, until the USPTO sets or adjusts patent fees under the fee setting authority provision of the AIA.  The agency is currently in the process of exercising its fee setting authority, will publish proposed new patent fees in June-July 2012, and expects to issue final patent fees in March 2013. 

Publication of the micro entity proposed rules in the Federal Register begins a sixty-day public comment period.  I encourage you to submit your written comments to the agency about the micro entity proposed rules during this time.  Your feedback is critical for the agency to properly implement the micro entity provision and build a 21st century patent system.

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