This page is designed for those inventors that are either filing on their own behalf (pro se) or are seeking free or greatly reduced services from patent professionals. This page is meant to be actively dynamic so that as rules change or practices before the United States Patent and Trademark Office change the page will be updated with current information. The pro se portion of the page will eventually contain training on the patent process, training on search techniques, sample provisional applications and direct links to forms and fees needed for filing a patent application. The pro bono portion of the page will eventually contain vital information about the pro bono program as it increases in size to eventually cover the entire United States. Initially the page will include a training package with a certification certificate for successfully completing the training. This certification is one of many requirements to be considered for pro bono assistance. There will also be a link to a national screening program for admittance into any regional pro bono program. This process will be further explained on the pro bono page.
>> Click here to view the video.
The America Invents Act encourages the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to “work with and support intellectual property law associations across the country in the establishment of pro bono programs designed to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses.” The USPTO has been interacting with IP law associations to assist in the establishment of such programs and the first program was launched in June 2011 with the Minnesota pilot program. An additional 5 programs are slated to begin operation during 2012. The USPTO is now reaching out to many additional areas for further programs with the goal of opening their doors during 2013. Additionally, a national pro bono Task Force has been formed that includes the major IP law Association, members from the USPTO, the Federal Circuit Judiciary and others. The Task Force assists new programs and encourages additional programs in forming. The overall goal of the USPTO and the Task Force is to have the entire country covered by pro bono assistance for financially under-resourced inventors so that no worthy invention is left undiscovered.
>> Click here to view the video.
Nationwide pro bono assistance program entry - National Clearinghouse
PLEASE READ BEFORE REQUESTING PRO BONO ASSISTANCE
There are currently a limited but growing number of regional pro bono programs to assist financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses in the United States. Many additional programs are anticipated to become operational over the next year or two. An online portal for placing inventors into the current regional pro bono patent legal programs has been developed. This portal serves as a clearinghouse and is operated by the Federal Circuit Bar Association. Please visit the USPTO State Resources Page to find out if a regional program is available in your state. If a program is available, a link to the National Clearinghouse will be provided on your state’s resource page.
Acceptance into a regional pro bono program requires each potential pro bono client to be screened for certain criteria. The clearinghouse portal will require you to provide contact information and answer a few questions to determine eligibility for the program. It also will require you to provide basic information about your invention, including a brief description, to help in the referral process. Should your application pass the first level of screening at the National Clearinghouse, it will be forwarded to the appropriate regional program. All following correspondence will come from the regional program.
In order to gain a better understanding of the patent process and what rights an inventor obtains if granted a patent, you should take the time to complete the certificate training course, found above. Many regional pro bono programs require successful completion of the certification training to be considered for the program. Please note that acceptance into any pro bono program is not guaranteed and not all applicants will be forwarded to a regional program.
The USPTO does not conduct or sponsor collection of your information through the portal. Any information you provide will not be sent to the USPTO but goes directly to the National Clearinghouse