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The size of the applicant will determine the USPTO fees associated with a patent application and maintenance fees. Generally, a large entity pays full price; a small entity pays half of a large entity fee; and a micro entity pays half of a small entity fee. Elements of the definitions change and the fees change – so changes should be checked before action is taken.
Definition of Entity Size:
Large entity is: an applicant which does not fit the definition of a small entity or micro entity.
Small entity is: (a) an individual; (b) small business with less than 500 employees; or (c) a nonprofit organization including a university or other institution of higher education located in any country. (37 CFR 1.27; 13 CFR 121.802)
Micro entity is: (a) qualifies as a small entity; (b) 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; (c) did not, in the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the applicable fee is being paid, have a gross income, exceeding $206,109; and (d) 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 $ 206,109. (35 U.S.C. 123; and https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/micro-entity-status-gross-income-limit)
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