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April 07, 2008
#08-14

Contact:
Jennifer Rankin Byrne
Phone: (571) 272-8400 or
Jennifer.rankin_byrne@uspto.gov

Press Release, 08-14

USPTO Pilots Law School Clinical Certification Program

Pilot Program to Allow Law Students to Practice Intellectual Property Law Before the Agency

Washington, D.C. - The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new pilot program through which law students will be able to gain practical experience practicing intellectual property (IP) law before the agency. During this two-year pilot program, the USPTO will work with law school clinical faculty from a select group of schools to give law students real-world opportunities to practice either patent or trademark law.

“We are pleased to offer this pilot program because we believe it will help participating law students gain perspective on the USPTO’s role in the global IP system,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. “We hope the experience will inspire these students to pursue careers in IP law—perhaps even here at the USPTO.”

Students in the program can choose to practice either patent law or trademark law. A student choosing the patent program could expect to draft and file a patent application, draft and file a response to an office action, or draft and file a brief or reply brief in an appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences from final rejections. A student choosing the trademark program could expect to draft and file a trademark application, respond to an office action, or draft and file a brief or reply brief in an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board from final refusals.

The USPTO plans to choose between three to five schools to participate in the pilot program. To be considered, law schools are asked to submit information regarding their IP clinical program as outlined on the USPTO website, uspto.gov. When a school is accepted into the pilot program, further details will be needed concerning the participating students. All students applying for the patent and trademark programs must have requisite legal qualifications, and be of good moral character and reputation. To qualify to practice in the patent program, each student must also have the required scientific and technical qualifications for registration. The USPTO will grant approval for limited recognition of the law student attorneys after finding each student qualified.

Applications from law schools to participate in the pilot Law School Clinical Certification Program are being accepted through May 30, 2008. Application information is available online at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/oed/practitioner/agents/lawschoolclinicalcertpilot.xml.

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