Follow-Up: Micro Entity Status
When the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) adopted and adjusted fees while implementing the America Invents Act (AIA) earlier this year, the agency created a new category called “micro entities.” Since the implementation of micro entity—and the 75 percent discount on fees associated with it—the Office of Innovation Development has not surprisingly received numerous inquiries about it.
The reduction serves qualifying independent inventors, small businesses, and members of the academic community, providing an even greater discount than the one for small entities. You can see all fees, including micro entity fees, on the current USPTO Fee Schedule page.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining if you qualify as a micro entity:
- There are two separate sections of law associated with micro entity status. The first section allows anyone meeting certain income levels and other requirements to qualify for the reduced micro entity fees. The second section of the law provides the same reduction for inventors who earn a majority of their income from an institution of higher education or have assigned, granted, or conveyed—or are under an obligation to assign, grant or convey—the right of their patent to an institution of higher education. For more on these requirements, read our original advice article on micro entity status.
- To receive the micro entity reduced fees, you must file a form with your application showing that you meet the requirements as indicated above. These forms must be filed with every application for which you wish to receive the micro entity discount. Non-academic filers should use form SB/15A. For filers associated with an institution of higher education, use form SB/15B. These forms, along with all other USPTO patent-related forms can be found on our Patents Forms page.
- Please remember that if you file a non-provisional utility application in paper, you are subject to a non-electronic surcharge in addition to the normal fees associated with filing a non-provisional application. There is no micro entity discount for this surcharge. That means if you are filing as a micro entity using a paper application, you will be required to pay the small entity non-electronic filing surcharge of $200. To avoid this surcharge, file electronically using EFS-Web, the USPTO’s automated online solution for patent filing. The surcharge does not apply to reissue, design, plant, or provisional applications. Visit our EFS-Web resources page to learn more.