The America Invents Act of 2011 created a new micro-entity status. Previously, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognized small entities, which were eligible for a 50% fee reduction. Micro-entities are eligible for a 75% reduction in fees paid to the USPTO.
A small entity is either:
A small business concern (does not exceed 500 persons)
A non-profit organization
Furthermore, if the owner has transferred some rights in the invention to one or more parties, or is under an obligation to do so, the transferee must also qualify as a small entity.
To qualify as a micro-entity, one must first qualify as a small entity. Additionally, the income of the micro-entity must be less than 3 times the median household income. Also, the micro-entity may not assign or be under an obligation to assign the application to an entity with an income that exceeds this limit.
The micro-entity is eligible for the reduced fees on the first four patent applications filed (excluding provisional patent applications).
These new provisions are designed to make the patent system more accessible to individual inventors and small businesses. Your patent attorney can help you navigate these and other changes to the patent law introduced in the America Invents Act. Cotman IP is located in Pasadena, California just outside of Downtown Los Angeles.