Record number of patent practitioners and law firms help under-resourced inventors and small businesses participate in innovation economy

Press Release

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Paul Fucito or Mandy Kraft
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WASHINGTON— On the heels of its release of the National Strategy for Inclusive Innovation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today celebrated the 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 dreams. The USPTO awards these volunteers with the Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate. 

“USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono program has benefited thousands of underrepresented and under-resourced inventors since its launch in 2015 by providing free assistance to obtain intellectual property protection that fuels small businesses and our economy,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Inventors such as Janira Hernandez from Chicago, Illinois, utilized the program to successfully patent a baby bottle that helps caregivers by preventing spillage. And Ivana Miskic from Conyers, Georgia, successfully patented a blanket apparatus for covering a child in a car seat during the cold winter months after receiving pro bono assistance. These and other innovators, by using their ingenuity to solve problems and help others, drive our society forward.”
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. Under Director Vidal’s leadership, the USPTO doubled down on its commitment to pro bono, providing continuity in the programs and more fully serving communities across the nation. 

Both the number of patent practitioners and the number of firms continued to break prior participation records. This past year, the Patent Pro Bono Program featured more than 120 patent practitioners reporting 50 or more hours each of patent pro bono service to a regional patent pro bono program, up from more than 90 the previous year. In addition, 28 corporations and law firms contributed significant hours to one or more participating regional programs, up from 25 the previous year. Their support has resulted in more than 205 pro bono patent applications filed with the USPTO in 2023. 
To date, more than 4,400 inventors have been matched with a patent practitioner through the Patent Pro Bono Program. Since 2015, these legal professionals have filed nearly 2,240 patent applications on behalf of their pro bono clients. Further, not only is the program critical to expanding innovation, it has a proven record of expanding it inclusively. The Patent Pro Bono Program was utilized by a record number of inventors of color, women, and veteran applicants in calendar year 2023. 

The 2023 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.  

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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