Under U.S. patent law, the fees to be paid to the patent office (USPTO) depend on the applicant’s status. For the purposes of paying patent fees, 37 CFR 1.27, explains that to qualify as a small entity, one must either be:
- An individual investor
- A small for-profit business concern (company) having no more than 500 employees (or affiliates)
- A university, or
- A non-profit organization of the type as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. section 501(c)(3))
Small entity status of a patent applicant entitles the applicant to pay reduced application, issuance, and maintenance fees. For more information on small entity status discounts, refer here.
[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]