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USPTO Publishes Final Rules in the Federal Register Implementing Micro Entity Provisions 12/27/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Legal Developments.
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Patent Attorney Stan ChalvireBy: Stanley Chalvire

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published final rules in the Federal Register implementing the micro entity provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

The America Invents Act provided for the creation of a new micro entity status, affording qualifying applicants a seventy-five percent reduction in fees paid to the USPTO. Once the USPTO has completed its fee setting rulemaking, which is currently ongoing and is projected to be complete in the Spring 2013, qualifying applicants claiming micro entity status will be eligible to pay reduced patent fees.

Applicants claiming micro entity status must certify that: (1) they qualify as a small entity; (2) neither the applicant, inventor or a joint inventor on the subject application has been named as an inventor or a joint inventor on more than four previously filed non-provisional patent applications; (3) neither the applicant, inventor or a joint inventor had a gross income exceeding three times the median household income in the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the applicable fee is being paid; and (4) neither the applicant, inventor or a joint inventor has assigned, granted, or conveyed, nor is under an obligation to assign, grant, or convey, a license or other ownership interest in the application to an entity that had a gross income exceeding three times the median household income in the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the applicable fee is being paid. Qualifying micro entity applicants also include institutions of higher education (e.g., universities) and inventors that are obligated to assign their rights to their invention to such institutions of higher education.

The final rules set forth the procedures for an applicant to claim micro entity status and to pay reduced patents fees as a micro entity. Additionally, the final rules address procedures for an applicant to notify the USPTO of the loss of micro entity status and to correct payments of patent fees erroneously paid in the micro entity amount. The final rules go into effect on March 19, 2013.

To learn more on this topic, please contact Stan.

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