知財コラム

5) micro entityに対する料金割引制度

これまでsmall entityに対しては通常料金の半額になる制度がありましたが、今回の改正では通常料金から75%の割引が受けられるmicro entity制度が新たに設けられました。

micro entityとして認められる要件は、
(1) small entityに該当すること
(2) 発明者になっている出願が過去4件を超えていないこと
(3) 年間の総収入が全国の平均収入の3倍を超えていないこと
(4) 上記水準を超える者に権利を譲渡しておらず、譲渡する義務もないこと
です(§123(a))。なお、上記出願には、外国出願・仮出願・米国に移行しなかった国際出願は含まれません。

また、高度教育機関の勤務者で、その高度教育機関に権利を譲渡しているか、譲渡する義務を有するもmicro entityに含まれます(§123(d))。

改正自体は署名日から発効していますが、実際に利用可能になるのはUSPTOによる規則等が整備された後になります。

§ 123. Micro entity defined
(a) IN GENERAL. For purposes of this title, the term ‘micro entity’ means an applicant who makes a certification that the applicant
(1) qualifies as a small entity, as defined in regulations issued by the Director;
(2) has not been named as an inventor on more than 4 previously filed patent applications, other than applications filed in another country, provisional applications under section 111(b), or international applications filed under the treaty defined in section 351(a) for which the basic national fee under section 41(a) was not paid;
(3) did not, in the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the applicable fee is being paid, have a gross income, as defined in section 61(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, exceeding 3 times the median household income for that preceding calendar year, as most recently reported by the Bureau of the Census; and
(4) has not assigned, granted, or conveyed, and is not under an obligation by contract or law to assign, grant, or convey, a license or other ownership interest in the application concerned to an entity that, in the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the applicable fee is being paid, had a gross income, as defined in section 61(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, exceeding 3 times the median household income for that preceding calendar year, as most recently reported by the Bureau of the Census.

(d) INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. For purposes of this section, a micro entity shall include an applicant who certifies that
(1) the applicant’s employer, from which the applicant obtains the majority of the applicant’s income, is an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)); or
(2) the applicant has assigned, granted, conveyed, or is under an obligation by contract or law, to assign, grant, or convey, a license or other ownership interest in the particular applications to such an institution of higher education.

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