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The New America Invents Act - Micro-Entity Status

The New America Invents Act - Micro-Entity Status

On September 16, 2011 President Barack Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This new act makes several changes to procedures for an applicant as well as changes in the application process. The changes began to be implemented on September 16, 2011 with the final rules going into effect on March 19, 2013. One such change is possible savings for individuals and small businesses.

Micro-entity Status

If you're a small business or individual with fewer than five previous patents, you might be able to qualify for a new status with the Patent Office that saves you about 75% on the regular patent filing fees, which means a savings of several thousand dollars. To qualify with the US Patent Office as a micro entity based on income, the inventor must meet the following criteria:

1) Qualify as a small entity which includes individuals, businesses with less than 500 employees, charitable organizations, or universities or other institutions of higher education;

2) Have been named as an inventor on no more than four patent applications that have not been assigned (or are not subject to an obligation to assign) to a previous employer;

3) Have a gross income that does not exceed three times the median household income for the preceding calendar year (which is about $150,000.00 per year); and

4) Have not assigned, granted or conveyed, and are not under an obligation to assign, grant or convey, a license or other ownership interest in the application to an entity that in the preceding calendar year had a gross income exceeding three times the median household income for that year.

If there is a change of status by the small entity becoming a large entity during the application process, this must be disclosed to the Patent Office and the patent applicant must pay the full fees. Another important aspect of this rule is it applies to the owner of the patent and if the inventor or inventors have assigned or transferred their rights it must be to a small entity.

If you have a idea and want to see if you can patent it, the best place to start is by contacting a patent attorney to discuss the patent process. If you have any questions about this article please send Patent Attorney George Leone an email.

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