Only money paid by mistake or in excess (when a fee is not required by the statute or rules, or is not required in the amount paid) may be refunded. A mere change of purpose after the payment of money does not entitle a party to a refund. For example, if an applicant deletes a class from an application, or withdraws an application, the applicant is not entitled to a refund. 37 C.F.R. §2.209(a).
The filing fee for an application that is denied a filing date will be refunded. After an application has been given a filing date and processed, the filing fee will normally not be returned. However, if an examining attorney erroneously requires a fee, the USPTO will refund any fee submitted in response to the erroneous requirement.
If the examining attorney determines that an applicant is entitled to a refund, he or she must submit the request to the TMFinance@uspto.gov e-mail box with the information necessary for processing the refund.
If the examining attorney is uncertain as to whether a refund is appropriate, he or she should discuss the situation with the managing attorney or senior attorney.
See TMEP §405.04 for additional information about processing refunds.