Record number of law firms boost participation in innovation economy among under-resourced inventors and small businesses

Press Release

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Paul Fucito or Mandy Kraft
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WASHINGTON—The U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the recipients of the 2022 Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate, celebrating individuals and law firms that have volunteered significant time and effort to help financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses protect their ideas, positioning them to more fully realize their ideas and dreams.  

“At the USPTO, we are heavily invested in this program because there is a crucial need for all of us to unite in helping every potential innovator in our country bring their innovation to impact,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Thanks to the commitment and great work of all the recipients we can help make those dreams become reality and, in the process, turbocharge access to the American innovation system for everyone.”

Established under the 2011 America Invents Act, the USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program is a nationwide network of independently operated regional programs that match volunteer practitioners with inventors for the purpose of securing patent protection. Each regional program provides services for residents of one or more states. Collectively they cover our entire country.

Last year, the Patent Pro Bono Program featured more than 90 patent practitioners reporting 50 or more hours each of patent pro bono service to a regional patent pro bono program. In addition, 25 corporations and law firms contributed significant hours to one or more participating regional programs. - a record number with past participation peaking at 23 firms. These volunteers assisted with more than 250 pro bono patent applications filed with the USPTO in 2022.

The 2022 recipients of the Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate are listed on the USPTO’s Practitioner Recognition page and Firm Recognition Page. The USPTO also recognizes practitioners who have contributed 50 or more hours annually for up to five consecutive years.  

To date, more than 3,800 inventors have been matched with a patent practitioner through the Patent Pro Bono Program. Since 2015, these legal professionals have filed nearly 2,000 patent applications on behalf of their pro bono clients.  Importantly not only is the program critical to expanding innovation, it has a proven record of expanding it inclusively. Last year, of the applicants who responded to a survey, 35% identified as African American or Black; 14% as Hispanic; 6% as Asian or Pacific Islander; and 1.5% as Native American. Notably, with only 13% of all inventors named on U.S. patents being women, 43% of Patent Pro Bono Program applicants self-identified as female.

For more information on participating in the program, visit the Patent Pro Bono Program page and click on your state to identify a regional program in your area, or email

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