Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership
Wednesday Aug 16, 2017

Dream to Reality – Helping Inventors Patent New Technologies

A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce

Small businesses and independent inventors both serve a vital role in our nation’s economy. And, helping those with limited resources is an important goal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program provides free legal assistance to financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses interested in securing patent protection for their inventions. Inventors then bring their inventions to market helping to grow the economy and turn their dreams into reality.

 John Kirkpatrick, Associate Pro Bono Coordinator

John Kirkpatrick, Associate Pro Bono Coordinator and Staff Attorney, USPTO

In every patent, there’s a story. Take for example Travis Kelley, from Backus, MN. Travis invented a simple but effective device to take the guesswork out of home door installations. He couldn’t afford to hire an attorney and filed a provisional patent application on his own. After learning about USPTO’s pro bono program, he applied and received legal representation. His patent was issued in 2014.

Today, Travis and his wife Jennifer run a small business called JenTra Tools. Having sold thousands of units per year, JenTra is now moving into new markets to expand its customer base.

Then there is Deborah Campbell, from Grand Junction, CO, who developed a sushi-making machine that can churn out sushi rolls in just two minutes after years of designing and prototyping. She received pro bono assistance from the law firm of Merchant and Gould through Mi Casa Women’s Business Center in Denver. Find out more about her journey to sushi success in the recent article from Inventors Eye.

Glenn Vogel, a custom metal worker and father of three from Evergreen, CO, also received assistance through Mi Casa. In 2015, thanks to a volunteer attorney and the pro bono program, Glenn patented a customizable wine storage rack and saw his revenue increase by 20 percent.

Regional patent pro bono programs not only support local inventors, but are also a way for patent practitioners to give back to their community. To date, more than 1,000 practitioners have volunteered their availability, time and resources. However, in order to assist even more independent inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses, the USPTO welcomes even more practitioners to participate.

Visit the USPTO website to learn more about available resources for both inventors and entrepreneurs.

Comments:

I wish to file a non-provisional application electronically as a micro-entity. Need some guidance. Fees, forms, how to submit etc. I have files a provisional application September 29, 2016 Please give me some feedback Thanks

Posted by Kenneth W Buschmann on September 05, 2017 at 11:12 AM EDT #

The pro bono program is great, really. However, if one as myself finds that I am just above the level for this assistance there is no pro bono for folks like myself. So the wealthy who can afford the legal assistance ($35,000.00)and those who meet the pro bono level for assistance are taken care of for their patents and then there are those in the middle like myself who struggle completing the forms for their patent and hopefully get it approved without any "legal" assistance.

Posted by RosaLee Niemi on September 05, 2017 at 02:42 PM EDT #

Buen día Srs de la USPTO,. Soy un humilde inventor, de muy bajos recursos, vivo en Bogotá Colombia, me gustaría patentar mi invento por primera vez y online en USPTO y aplicar al programa de ayuda al inventor para patentar mi invento siendo de nacionalidad extranjera. ¿Es esto posible? ¿que debo hacer? Muchas gracias.

Posted by Frank Jhonson on September 10, 2017 at 07:29 PM EDT #

I would like to patent my idea but i can't find somebody to talk personally. I have to send my drawings to some place and nothing else. I don't know personally my lawyer, neither the draftman. If he don't understand i can't explain to him.

Posted by Angel on September 12, 2017 at 10:25 PM EDT #

Hello I am certain I am a victim of an attorney scam. Is there a resource through the uspto to help me recover from this treachery?

Posted by Samson Seidel on September 18, 2017 at 02:52 PM EDT #

I have an invention in the field of motors and energy I do not have the money to register or market his patent

Posted by aziz mousa on September 21, 2017 at 11:45 AM EDT #

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