Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Micro-Entity Fees Have Finally Arrived!

It took long enough to implement (18 months) but the new super-reduced micro-entity fee rules finally kicked in this morning. There are two paths to these reduced fees but in this entry we're only going to discuss the independent inventor path.
What's a micro-entity? A micro-entity is any individual (or small business with less than 500 employees) that has earned less than $150,000 in gross income in the preceding calendar year, who has not been named as an inventor in more than four previously filed patent applications, and who has not committed to license or assign rights to the invention to an individual or entity earning more than $150,000. You can learn more about micro-entity qualifications by reviewing this article or these USPTO FAQs.
How do you get the fee break? Download Form 15A. Fill it out electronically and sign it electronically -- for example, "/ThomasAlvaEdison/." Then file the Certification (if there are co-inventors, each must complete and file a separate Certification) along with whatever patent application you are filing. In the EFS (electronic filing system used by the USPTO), you will find a dropdown for filing a Certification of Micro Entity Status. Select it and file it along with your provisional or nonprovisional application. Note, you must meet the financial requirement each year to continue to qualify (in 2012 it is gross income under $150,162). New financial requirements will be set each September.
Related article: How Do Co-Inventors Determine Micro-Entity Status?

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