Small Entity Status

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At the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a small entity is one of the available applicant’s status, along with the “large entity” status and the “micro entity” status.

The small entity status allows small businesses, independent inventors, and nonprofit organizations to file a patent application and maintain an issued patent for a reduced fee (currently 50%). An entity that does not qualify for small entity status is charged double the fees charged small entities.

To qualify as a small entity for purposes of paying patent fees, you must either be:

  • an individual
  • a small business concern having no more than 500 employees (or affiliates)
  • a university, or
  • a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

An assertion of a small entity for purposes of paying patent fees is made when you file the application. You do this either by checking the “Applicant claims small entity status” box on the transmittal form or by paying the small entity fee exactly.

small entities, small entity status
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