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President Obama signed the America Invents Act (AIA),commonly referred to as the “patent reform bill,” into law late last year and business owners are still wondering what, if anything, it means to them. One interesting fee-related provision relates to the creation of a microentity designation. Currently, patent applicants are either designated as large entities or small entities with the latter getting a 50 percent decrease on most U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) patent fees. The microentity designation would mean a 75 percent decrease on most PTO patent fees. This status is generally reserved for institutions of higher education or those small entities with four or fewer previously-filed patent applications and agross income less than three times the median household income for the calendar year most recently reported by the Bureau of the Census. The PTO has published the proposed rules for microentity status and is asking for comments from the public until July 30.

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