MPEP Q & A 57: Government Organizations that Cannot Qualify as Nonprofit Organizations

 Government Organizations


List two types of government organizations that cannot qualify as a nonprofit organization.


Government organizations, whether domestic or foreign, cannot qualify as nonprofit organizations. These include:

  • A government research facility or other government-owned corporation could not qualify.
  • Although the Federal government agencies do not qualify as nonprofit organizations for paying reduced fees under the rules, a license to a Federal agency resulting from a funding agreement with the agency will not preclude the proper claiming of small entity status.

Chapter Details:

The answer to this question can be found in chapter 500 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Receipt and Handling of Mail and Papers.

The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 07.2015. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.

Section Summary:

This question and answer comes from section 509.02 of the MPEP.  The following is a brief summary of section 509.02.

509.02   Small Entity Status — Definitions

This section covers small entity status, which is a reduction of certain fees by 50% for independent inventors and non-profit organizations. The fees which are reduced by 50% for small entities are covered in this section.

This section also outlines the specific individuals who may qualify for small entity status as well as a definition of nonprofit organizations.

A discussion on the location of small entities, rights of the inventor and a transfer of those rights, and rights held by government organizations are also covered.

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