Students Given Opportunity to Practice Intellectual Property Law Before the USPTO through Law School Clinic Programs

Pilot Law School Clinical Certification Program will give students real-world perspective in patent or trademark law
Press Release

Jennifer Rankin Byrne or Ruth Nyblod
Phone: (571) 272-8400


Washington, D.C. - The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will begin a two-year pilot Law School Clinical Certification Program this fall semester allowing law students to practice intellectual property law before the agency under the strict guidance of a law school clinical faculty supervisor. Six law schools have been selected to participate in the pilot, including American University, Washington College of Law; University of Connecticut School of Law; The John Marshall Law School; University of Maine School of Law; Vanderbilt Law School; and William Mitchell College of Law.

"Congratulations to each of the selected schools," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. "We look forward to providing a real-world experience for the students so they will be well prepared to tackle the complexities of intellectual property law that are so important in today's economy."

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.

Law schools were asked to submit information regarding their IP clinical programs. Each of the schools selected have one or more outstanding attributes making them notable, promising to positively contribute to a successful pilot program. For more information on the program, see:

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 to practice before the agency after finding each student qualified.