Is there a government supplement that offsets the cost of obtaining a patent for low income families?
Sort of, but only in the US (as far as I know).
You can file an application with micro entity status, which means most of the official fees are 75% less than the usual rate. This has some pretty strict requirements:
- No inventor/applicant is named on more than four previously filed applications.
- No inventor/application has a gross income more than three times the median household income preceding the year in which the fee is paid.
- No inventor/applicant has an obligation too assign a licence or ownership to someone who wouldn't meet the gross income test above.
If any of these change over time, you have to update your status. If you wrongly claim micro-entity status, your patent can be invalid. So it's a pretty big deal.