By Dennis Crouch
As per their usual, the folks at Brown & Michaels have provided a concise write-up to help inventors and small companies understand whether they qualify for Micro-Entity-Status and the resulting fee reduction. http://www.bpmlegal.com/howsmall.html
The basic questions are:
- Does the applicant qualify as a small entity? (If no, then no micro-entity)
- Has the applicant or any joint inventor filed more than four US non-provisional patent applications? (If yes, then no micro-entity, unless those applications were from a prior employment and assigned to the prior employer)
- Did the applicant or any listed inventor have an income for the past year that was greater than $150,000? (If yes, then no micro-entity). This number will change annually based upon median US household income.
- Have rights in the application been promised or licensed to a non-micro-entity? (If yes, then no micro-entity)
In addition to the Brown & Michaels site above, the next stop for further reading is the USPTO's final rules published in the Federal Register at 77 Fed. Reg. 75019.
The big deal here is that micro-entities receive a 75% reduction in USPTO fees.