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What Is A Small Entity?

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Question: What Is A Small Entity?
Answer: A small entity is either an independent inventor, collaboration of independent inventors, a nonprofit organization, or a company with under 500 employees.

Filing A Patent Application As A Small Entity

In the past a separate small entity form was needed. Patent law now says that small entity status can be established at any time by a simple written assertion that you are a small entity.

Establishing Your Status As A Small Entity

Specific forms are no longer required but the USPTO will still accept them as a written assertion of entitlement to small entity status. It used to be that you had to file a special form (PTO/SB/9-12) declaring that you were a small entity in order to pay the reduced fees. Now, the USPTO will accept any written reference that you are a small entity and several of the forms that you will be using to communicate with the USPTO have a check box that will identify you as a small entity, and are considered written references.

The USPTO will liberally construe any written reference to small entity status to be a request for small entity status. Several USPTO forms, such as the transmittal forms (PTO/SB/5,17,21,50 and 56) and the provisional cover sheet (PTO/SB/16), have been modified to include a box which can be checked to establish small entity status.

Benefits Of Being A Small Entity

A small entity pays reduced fees (50% discount) to the USPTO for many of their filing fees.

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