December's advice article

Fee Reminders and Tips for Micro Entity Status

Inventors Eye likes to remind readers that it is common for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to implement new fee changes as a new fiscal year begins. Now is a great time for patent holders and applicants to review fees and avoid headaches that might occur from making any fee-related mistakes.  

For fiscal year 2016, which began October 1, 2015, the current fee schedule will remain in force without change. Applicants are encouraged to review the Current Fee Schedule available on the USPTO Web Site, via to confirm proper fee amounts prior to payment of any fee.

Now is also a good time to remind readers about micro entity status, which is particularly relevant to independent inventors.

Applicants interested in establishing themselves for micro entity fee reductions should keep the following help tips in mind when preparing a certification of micro entity status:

  • A complete and acceptable Certification of micro entity status for each named inventor must be filed before any micro entity fee reduction takes legal effect. It is recommended that applicants use the appropriate certification of micro entity status forms provided by the USPTO, i.e., the PTO/SB/15A (Gross Income Basis) or the PCT/SB-15B (Institution for Higher Education Basis).
  • For applications with multiple inventors, each co-inventor must submit a complete and acceptable micro entity certification.
  • Submission of any unacceptable micro entity certification with the filing of a newly filed application, with or without the attempted payment of reduced micro entity fees, will cause the issuance of a pre-examination notice requiring payment of all fees due at their regular non-discounted fee amounts.
  • Acceptance of any unpaid, or previously submitted, reduced micro entity fee(s) will not be accepted as payment in full until a complete and acceptable micro entity certification (executed by each of the named inventors) has been received and the requisite surcharge for the late submission of the filing fee, search fee, examination fee, has also been submitted.
  • Each inventor identified in or executing a micro entity certification must be identified exactly as that inventor has been identified in the Application Data Sheet (ADS) or in an oath or declaration when no ADS is submitted. This will reduce delays in establishing micro entity status.
  • The ADS, or oath or declaration when no ADS is being filed, are the only two documents that establish inventorship, and they establish inventorship in the exact order each inventor is listed therein. One big problem for the USPTO is a mismatch of the identified names between the document that establishes inventorship and the signature on other documents, such as, for example, the micro entity certification.

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The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.