As of March 19, 2013 USPTO fees is determined based on the size of an entity. For private, for-profit businesses, there are three main entities — large entity, small entity, and micro entity. Small entity status entails a 50% fee reduction from large entity fees and micro entity status entails a 75% fee reduction from large entity fees. See 37 CFR 1.27 for more details.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Micro entity status: Entities or inventors that have less than (i) 4 prior patent application (excluding provisional applications or applications assigned to previous employer) (ii) have a gross income less than 3 times the median household income in the U.S. for the preceding calendar year ( Visit this link to see the current maximum income to qualify) (iii) have not assigned, licensed, or conveyed an interest in the invention to an entity that had a gross income of more than the maximum income, and (iv) qualify for small entity (below).
2. Small entity status: Entities that have less than 500 employees and have not assigned, licensed, or conveyed an interest in the invention to an entity with more than 500 employees qualify for small entity status.
3. Large entity status: Those who do not qualify for micro or small entity status.