U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) introduced legislation on Tuesday to make it easier and more affordable for startups and small businesses to apply for patents.
Chabot is joined in this bipartisan effort by original cosponsors U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Judy Chu (D-CA), Howard Coble (R-NC), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
Currently, applying for a patent can cost upwards of $10,000 or more. While this may be a financial strain on all companies, these costs can be staggering for a small startup trying to get off the ground.
To encourage technological innovation and spur job creation, the America Invents Act, which went into effect earlier this year, created a new program (the micro entity program) within the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) that lowers the financial burdens of obtaining a patent on small startup companies. Under the micro entity program, qualifying small businesses are charged 75 percent less than larger, more established entities -- a significantly lower filing fee.
Chabot's legislation, H.R. 2236, the Promoting Startup Innovation Act (PSIA), expands the pool of eligible businesses for the micro entity program by allowing companies who have filed more patent applications and have a higher gross income to participate in the program.
"Innovation has consistently been a critical competitive advantage and a driver for long-term U.S. economic growth," Chabot said. "Without a strong patent system, there would be no incentive to create new inventions. This legislation significantly reduces the financial burdens of patent applications on small businesses and startups, and ensures these entities can obtain valuable intellectual property rights in a more affordable manner."
The PSIA will also require the USPTO to give approval or denial into the micro entity program within 45 days to allow startups to better budget their limited resources.