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Environment

Patent Office Offers Lower Fee Structure

by Glenn Hess
September 17, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 38

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) is proposing a revised patent application and maintenance fee structure that includes discounts for individual inventors and small businesses. Patent reform legislation passed by Congress a year ago directs PTO to set these fees on a cost-­recovery basis and to seek stakeholder input. Most fees in this revised proposal are lower than those suggested by the agency in February (C&EN, Feb. 20, page 9). “We are complying with Congress’ mandate to set fees at a level that enables PTO to recover the actual costs of the services it provides,” says PTO Director David J. Kappos. The revised proposal would raise the total fees for patent application filing, search, and examination from the current amount of $1,250 for a large entity to $1,600—a 28% increase. The proposal includes a 75% savings from the large-entity fee amounts on many patent fees for so-called microentities, primarily individual inventors and small entrepreneurial ventures. PTO would also continue the existing 50% discount for small businesses. The patent office has said it plans to implement the new fee structure in February 2013.

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