USPTO to Offer Pro Bono Services to Qualifying Inventors
On Thursday, March 24th, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in collaboration with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), announced a new Pro Bono Program for qualifying inventors, marking a great step forward in supporting innovation.
The program will provide free legal representation from volunteer patent practitioners in proceedings before the PTAB to under-resourced inventors, including small businesses.
To qualify, applicants must:
- Be located in the United States;
- Have a gross income of less than three (3) times the federal poverty level;
- Certify micro entity status under the USPTO guidelines;
- Apply within one (1) month from the date of the office action in which the claims were twice rejected or finally rejected; and
- Demonstrate knowledge of the ex parte appeal process by completing a video training course.
Qualifying inventors will apply using an online application form and the PTAB Bar Association will serve as the clearing house for this new program.
Inventors should also be aware that a separate, but similar, USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program exists to provide free legal representation to under-resourced inventors to assist in filing and prosecuting patent applications.