Patent applicants and owners may qualify for small entity or micro entity status. A 60% discount on most patent-related fees is available to those who establish small entity status, and 80% to those who establish micro entity status.
Small entity status
Your patent or patent application may qualify for small entity status if you meet certain conditions. Small entities include a person, a small business (including affiliates, and having no more than 500 employees), or a nonprofit organization anywhere in the world. Additionally, a small entity must not have assigned, granted, conveyed, or licensed the invention, or be legally obligated to do so, to anyone who does not also qualify as a small entity.
Micro entity status
If you qualify as a small entity, you may also qualify for micro entity status if each inventor, patent applicant, or patent owner, as applicable, meets these additional criteria:
- Was named as an inventor on four or fewer previously filed applications (stayed within the application filing limit)
- Had an income for the previous calendar year of no more than the gross income limit ($212,352 in 2023 and changing yearly)
- Has not assigned, granted, conveyed, or licensed the invention, or is legally obligated to do so, to anyone who exceeds the gross income limit
Even if you haven’t met all three criteria above, you may also qualify for micro entity status either if you have received the majority of your income from employment by a U.S. institution of higher education, or have assigned, granted, or conveyed, or are legally obligated to do so, a patent ownership interest to such an institution.
To find out if you qualify for these statuses and how to establish them if you do, please refer to MPEP 509.02-509.04 or visit our Micro entity status webpage. For assistance or for answers to questions about qualifying, consult with a registered patent practitioner (attorney or agent). If you do not have such legal representation, contact our Pro Se Assistance Center at 866-767-3848 or ProSeAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov.
Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide a summary that may be helpful to applicants and other members of the public. It is not intended to replace any applicable statutes, regulations, or MPEP/TMEP provisions, nor does it address every potential set of individual circumstances. For authoritative information on the subjects discussed on this page, please see MPEP 509.02-509.04 and our Micro entity status webpage