National Patent Application Drafting Competition

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

17-Nov-19 Team registration opens

15-Dec-19 Initial period of team registration closes

19-Dec-19 Team invitations sent

20-Dec-19 Invention statement released to teams

14-Jan-20 Final period of team registration closes

14-Feb-20 Team patent application due

07-Mar-20 Regional competition occurs in Denver

14-Mar-20 Regional competitions occur in Alexandria, Dallas, Detroit, and San Jose

20-Mar-20 1st Place teams accept invitation to the national finals and prior art

reference(s) sent to all participating teams

01-Apr-20 Final national team patent application due

20-Apr-20 National final competition occurs

Regional hosts