By Donald Zuhn --
In anticipation of yesterday's implementation of the 15% surcharge on certain patent fees pursuant to § 11 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a press release and Federal Register notice (76 Fed. Reg. 59115) last week regarding the patent fees changes. In the Federal Register notice, the Office indicated that a revised fee schedule had been made available (as we noted last week), and that the revised fee schedule included the 15% surcharge, prioritized examination fee, and additional fee for applications not filed electronically that are set forth in the AIA (the latter fee does not take effect until November 15, 2011). The Office's press release indicates that "[a]t this time the USPTO may not offer the micro entity discount (75%) on any fees." The Office notes that "these fees will be adjusted under the fee setting authority provided for in Section 10 of the AIA," and that "[o]nce the USPTO sets these new fees, it is anticipated that the new fees will include a 50% reduction for small entities and a 75% reduction for micro entities for 'filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents.'" Thus, applicants should note that while the establishment of micro entities took effect on the date of enactment of the AIA, the 75% reduction in fees afforded to such micro entities must await the Office's fees rulemaking.