Final Rules Issued on Micro Entity Status Affecting Institutions of Higher Education

December 19, 2012

On December 19, 2012, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued final rules and responses to comments on micro entity status, which take effect March 19, 2013.

Institutions of higher education will be permitted to seek the benefit of micro entity status, entitling them to a 75-percent discount off of certain governmental fees charged by the USPTO, a deeper discount than the 50-percent discount offered to an institution qualifying as a small entity under existing rules. Several highlights from the rules and comments are below:

  1. Institutions of higher education will need to qualify as a small entity to be eligible to claim micro entity status.
  2. Institutions of higher education will lose micro entity status on an application in which the institution has assigned, licensed, granted, or conveyed an interest to a large entity, or is under obligation to do so.
  3. Non-US institutions of higher education will not qualify.
  4. Micro entity status is determined each time a fee is paid.

Jeremy R. Kriegel, Pamela L. Cox or another attorney at the Firm would be happy to provide additional information.