USPTO Opens New Regional Pro Bono Programs Open in California and the District of Columbia to Assist Inventors

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced the start of two new regional pro bono patent programs in California and the District of Columbia.  These programs are the result of the USPTO’s cooperative efforts with the California Lawyers for the Arts and the Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA).

The California program will provide legal assistance to individuals and businesses throughout the region that might otherwise not be able to afford patent protection. The FCBA’s program will provide services to individuals and businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

“With these programs, qualifying independent inventors will have greater access to intellectual property counsel,” said USPTO Director David J. Kappos. “The inventors stand to benefit from the improved access, and our examiners benefit by receiving better quality applications that they can examine more efficiently and effectively.”

The America Invents Act,signed into law by President Obama last year, tasked the USPTO to partner with intellectual property (IP) law associations and others to establish pro bono programs for financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. The primary role of the USPTO in these partnerships is to offer insight, guidance, and training assistance to help lawyers provide the best possible IP legal advice to their clients.

This week, the FCBA also assumed the role as the “National Clearing House” for pro bono patent assistance, serving America’s innovator community by collecting information from interested individuals and businesses, providing an initial eligibility screening based on financial need and other factors, and forwarding the information on eligible applicants to a regional pro bono organization so a suitable attorney can be matched with the applicant.

The USPTO will assist by providing an online application portal for pro bono program assistance, including an application, invention disclosure form, online seminar, and searchable list of programs in the various states.

The USPTO has successfully helped create four pro bono programs across the nation and is partnering with other IP law associations to help an additional 10 get started by the end of 2013.  Individuals and businesses interested in applying for pro bono patent assistance should visit the FCBA’s pro bono website, which includes request forms for applicants and patent attorneys interested in volunteering for pro bono patent assistance.

How I Can Help

I understand the challenges faced by small businesses and individuals seeking to protect their valuable intellectual property and I can work with you to come up with a plan that meets your IP, financial, budgetary and business goals.

If you need help to file a patent, copyright or trademark, foreign or domestic, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

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