By: Stan Chalvire
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register directed to the implementation of 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 that affords qualifying applicants a seventy-five percent reduction in fees paid to the USPTO. Qualifying micro entity applicants include, for example, applicants that: (1) qualify as a small entity, (2) are independent inventors having a gross income less than three times the national median household income during the preceding calendar year, (3) had not been named as an inventor on more than four previously-filed non-provisional patent applications (excluding those applications that the inventor was obligated to assign to its employer), and (4) have not assigned and are not obligated to assign rights in their invention to an entity having a gross income in excess of three times the national median household income during the preceding calendar year. 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 proposed rules set forth the procedures pertaining to claiming micro entity status and the payment of patents fees as a micro entity. The proposed rules also set forth the procedures for an applicant to notify the USPTO of the loss of micro entity status and the correction of payments of patent fees that were erroneously paid in the micro entity amount. Micro entity discounts will not be available to applicants until the USPTO proposes to set or adjust patent fees under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
Written comments regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Publication must be received on or before July 30, 2012.
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