When applying for a patent application, certain entities are entitled to reduced USPTO filing fees. Applicants who qualify for small entity status can reduce many USPTO fees by 50%. Applicants who are micro entities can reduce certain fees by 75%. An applicant who is neither a small entity nor a micro-entity is considered to be a large entity and must pay standard fees.
The savings resulting from small entity or micro entity status can be substantial. As of June 1, 2020 the standard combined application, search and examination fee for a new utility patent application was $1,720. However, a small entity only pays $860, and the equivalent micro entity fee is $430. Also, in order to maintain a patent in effect, the owner must pay maintenance fees at the 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5-year anniversaries of the patent’s issuance. These costs can become significant over time. Small entity or micro entity status can help reduce those costs.
Small and micro entities also can take advantage of certain fee waivers and deadline extensions that are currently available to patent applicants who are adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. More details about those programs are available in this IP Spotlight post and in the Intellectual Property section of the Fox Rothschild Coronavirus Resource Center.
However, the consequences of mis-declaring entity status can be severe. In cases where courts have found applicants paid the small entity fee without a good faith basis for considering themselves to be small entities, the courts have Continue reading