Announcing the winners of the 2023 National Patent Application Drafting Competition
Winning team of the 2023 National Patent Application Drafting Competition, Khailee, Bree, Rita, and Maria, from the George Washington University Law School (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO)
On April 14, law students gathered from around the country in the exciting final round of the National Patent Application Drafting Competition (NPADC) at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The competition challenges the teams on the fundamentals of patent prosecution, including drafting a patent application and arguing its patentability. This year, a record breaking 75 teams (250 students) entered the competition. It was a thrill to serve as one of the judges in the final round and to see the finalists defend their hypothetical inventions.
For the last six months leading up to the national round, the student teams worked on hypothetical invention statements. They searched the prior art, prepared specifications, and drafted claims, all while participating in the USPTO’s patent prosecution boot camps and other training sessions. After the regional rounds in March, there were five regional finalists: The George Washington University Law School (Eastern region), University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (Midwest region), University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (Rocky Mountain region), University of Southern California Gould School of Law (Silicon Valley region), and University of Wisconsin Law School (Texas region). I would like to congratulate all the competing teams, finalists, and this year’s first place winner, George Washington University Law School! I was incredibly impressed by the quality and caliber of submissions and presentation by the students in this year’s competition. Their analytic and oratory skills give me great hope for the future of the IP field and the potential impact these students will have when they enter the legal world.
According to Bree, a member of this year’s winning team:
"Preparing for and presenting at both the regional and final competitions was a highlight of my law school career and I am so grateful for my incredible teammates, our coach, the GW Law faculty and staff, and the USPTO for their encouragement and support. I am confident that the relationships built and patent drafting and prosecution skills learned, throughout the competition life cycle, will pay dividends in my career as a patent attorney. I think that is the most important win.”
Since its beginnings as a regional competition led by our Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit in 2014, the NPADC has expanded nationwide, with participation from law school teams from across the country and all our USPTO regional offices. The competition is an excellent opportunity for students to gain practical and indispensable experience drafting and prosecuting patents and to hone public speaking and communication skills. Students are also able to build vital connections through networking events throughout their participation. It is a great opportunity for students interested in a career in patent law.
The NPADC has been successful due to the overwhelming support from the intellectual property (IP) law community. The USPTO works closely with the American Intellectual Property Law Association in organizing the competition, as well as with local attorneys, local bar associations, local Inns of Court, and law school faculty mentors.
Do you want to learn more about the NPADC? It’s not too early to start planning a team for next year’s competition. Subscribe to our email updates to hear the latest, or contact PatentDraftingCompetition@uspto.gov with any questions.