National Patent Application Drafting Competition, Midwest region - teleconference only

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), with the support of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law, and The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, invite your school to participate in the 2020 National Patent Application Drafting Competition. The competition introduces law students to issues arising in United States patent law and to develop their patent application drafting, amending, and prosecuting skills. This is an expansion of the International Patent Drafting Competition established by the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and University of Windsor Law.

Competition process

Student teams will be given a hypothetical invention statement for which they will then search the prior art, prepare a specification, draft claims, and present their reasoning for patentability before a panel of judges comprised of patent examiners, practitioners, and high profile guest judges.

The invention statement will be released to the competing teams on December 20, 2019.

The initial phase of competition will consist of up to 15 teams in a regional round taking place in Detroit, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; San Jose, California; Dallas, Texas; and the Washington, D.C., area. The winner from each region will be invited to compete in the National Final Competition at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 20, 2020, before a panel of senior USPTO officials and other esteemed judges.

The national final competition may be available for live viewing through a teleconference link.

For background from previous competitions, see the International Patent Drafting Competition website.

Competition rules

Please read the complete set of rules for this year, 2020 National Patent Application Drafting Competition Rules, before entering. Questions may be addressed to the organizing committee at

Note: The competition rules were revised on December 3, 2019. Schools may now enter multiple teams.

Key dates

November 17, 2019  Team registration opens

December 15, 2019 – Initial period of team registration closes

December 19, 2019 – Team invitations sent

December 20, 2019 – Invention statement released to teams

January 14, 2020 – Final period of team registration closes

February 14, 2020 – Team patent application due

March 7, 2020 – Regional competition occurs in Denver

March 14, 2020 – Regional competitions occur in Alexandria, Dallas, Detroit, and San Jose (teleconference only)

March 20, 2020 – First place teams accept invitation to the national finals and prior art reference(s) sent to all participating teams

April 1, 2020 – Final national team patent application due

April 20, 2020 – National final competition occurs

Regional hosts

  • Detroit: Damian Porcari, Director of the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest USPTO
  • Dallas: Hope Shimabuku, Director of the Texas Regional USPTO
  • San Jose: Christopher Shipp, Executive Advisor for the Silicon Valley United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Denver: Molly Kocialski, Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional USPTO
  • Alexandria: Elizabeth Dougherty, Eastern Regional Outreach Director

2020 finalists and competitor results

Congratulations to all of the student teams who qualified for the national competition! We appreciate the coaches for their time and effort.

First place: University of St. Thomas School of Law  Kiersten Idzorek, Mark Landauer, Mary Susan Gerber, Jessica Alm (coach), Darnell Cage (coach)

Second place: Southern University Law Center – Taylor Krone, Trezell Ragas, W. David Kiesel (coach), Marina A. Biragova (coach)

Third place: Creighton University School of Law – Elizabeth Foley, Ashley Holland, Jack Pasternak, Larry Teply (coach)

Eastern Regional Champion: University of New Hampshire School of Law –Theodore Rand, Kurt Hoppmann, David Perry, Keith Kevelson, Stephen Finch (coach)

Rocky Mountain Regional Champion: University of Baltimore School of Law – Ella Giovinazzo, Emily DiBenedetto, Matthew Haghiri, Will Hubbard (coach)