Creating something and getting it ready for a patent is an exciting time. While you may have visions of a bursting business to go with your successful patent, just making progress can be very satisfying.
If this is one of your first ideas for a parent, the process can seem overwhelming, especially when many terms are unfamiliar. As you prepare your application and fees for your patent application, you will have to determine if you are a micro, small or large entity.
Here’s what you should know about micro-entity status and who may qualify.
Types of entities
The portion of the application that deals with what type of entity can feel complex. There is an extended portion of code that outlines who belongs in which category.
Knowing if you are micro
Micro-entities tend to be individuals or small groups of individuals. Before determining if you fit into the “micro” category, you must first fit into the small category. A small entity is either a nonprofit organization or a business with fewer than 500 employees and has not been part of a patent (assigned, licensed or convey) relating to a non-small entity.
Once you know you fit in the small category, there are more requirements for qualifying as a micro-entity, including:
- Not a named inventor on more than four previous applications
- Gross income under three times the median household income for the prior year
- Not assigned, licensed or granted an interest in the patent to someone who does not meet the above income requirement
Keep in mind, if you are part of a group of individuals applying for a patent under micro-entity status, everyone on the application must meet the requirements.
The advantage of being little
Creating an invention and taking it to through the patent application process can be expensive. The most significant advantage of micro-entity status is the savings on the patent application and other costs.
Typically, the micro-entity status can save the applicant hundreds of dollars in search, application and examination fees.