Explore our student programs

As America’s Innovation Agency, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a forward-looking organization of more than 13,000 dedicated employees who are as diverse as the public we serve. To further our mission, we are constantly looking for more top talent to join us. From real-world experience to real-world application, our student programs also have the future of innovation in mind. We provide talented students from diverse communities—who are attending high school, college, graduate school, or law school—with exciting opportunities to develop valuable skills and gain professional experience.

Learn more about paid internships, extern programs, law intern programs, and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Law Clerk Program.

intern program, group of three student interns

Paid internship opportunities

As an intern at the USPTO, you will work on projects that make a real impact, while learning about the agency and its mission, networking with peers and our employees, and hearing directly from leadership about their career paths. Our internship programs also offer invaluable exposure to the world of intellectual property (IP) and a chance to jumpstart a unique career in protecting American innovation. If you have a passion for public service and you are ready to launch your career, join us.

Ready to apply?

Innovation Internship

Imagine starting your career working side by side with IP leaders as part of the USPTO’s Innovation Internship Program. Here we celebrate, support, and thrive by building the bridge between IP and accessibility to all. Innovation Interns will receive virtual hands-on experience by engaging in a variety of diverse and challenging activities. The internship will be full-time telework during summer breaks and part-time during the school year.

Who can apply: Third-year college students.

USPTO Internship Program (Anthony Bowen)

This internship opportunity provides students who are enrolled in colleges, trade schools, and other qualifying institutions with paid opportunities to work and explore federal careers while completing their education. Assignments may include research, analysis, statistics, coordination of briefing books, assistance in developing detailed reports, and notetaking for events such as meetings, hearings, and legislative markup sessions. Paid interns are offered the opportunity to gain professional work experience, develop soft skills, gain exposure to IP, and gain experience working at the USPTO.

Who can apply: Students from four-year or community colleges, trade schools, and other qualifying institutions

Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program

Operated by the Partnership for Public Service, the Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program places young talent at the USPTO and other federal agencies. The program aims to develop a diverse pool of young talent for these agencies.

Who can apply: College sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate, and law students.

IP skills work-based learning program

This year-round paid work-based learning (WBL) experience for high school students is conducted in partnership with the Urban Alliance. The WBL provides students with a living wage access and exposure to career opportunities in federal service while creating opportunities for IP awareness, invention and entrepreneurship education, and integrated STEM/STEAM learning.

Who can apply: High school juniors and seniors


Legal interns

Trademark Law Internship

If you are a law student with an interest in trademark law and the U.S. trademark registration process, the Trademark Law Internship is tailored for you. Some research may also touch upon international trademark law issues and related IP issues. The program allows students to experience work at the USPTO, interact with experts, explore opportunities, and enhance their personal and professional skills. You may work with attorneys in the Trademark Legal Policy and Petitions Office, Trademark Training and Quality Review Office, Office of the Solicitor, and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

This internship lasts up to 12 weeks during the summer. You may arrange to receive academic credit through your law school for your work at the USPTO. Look for the announcement of the application period for the summer internship program on USAJOBS toward the beginning of the year. Selections are generally made in the spring, and the program begins in the early summer.

Additional internship positions may also become available throughout the year. Announcements for internships during the school year will be submitted to local law schools for posting.

Who can apply: First and second year law students

Office of Policy & International Affairs (OPIA) Law Internship

The OPIA Law Internship gives interns the opportunity to engage in a meaningful experience with intellectual property (IP) attorneys in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. You will work closely with senior IP leaders to formulate policy recommendations. You will also engage in research of foreign countries’ IP systems, complete IP-related projects, draft briefing materials, etc.  

Under the program, you will participate in an internship lasting 10-12 weeks during the summer or fall. You may arrange to receive academic credit through your law school for your work at the USPTO. Although this may vary, look for the announcement of the application period for the fall or summer internship program on USAJOBS toward early spring. Additional internship positions may also become available throughout the year. Announcements for internships during the school year will be provided to local law schools for posting.

Who can apply: First and second year law students


Ready to apply?


Extern program banner, group of students discussing a topic

Extern program

Our unpaid, volunteer USPTO extern program provides talented high school, college, and law students with unique opportunities to gain valuable skills and professional experience. Through this program, externs learn more about various career paths at the USPTO, network with our employees and their peers, and hear first-hand from our leadership about their own career paths.


Ready to apply?


PTAB law clerks, law clerk facing a panel of judges

PTAB law clerks

The PTAB Judicial Law Clerk Program gives recent law school graduates and junior attorneys hands-on experience working with PTAB judges on America Invents Act (AIA) and PTAB trials and ex parte appeals for a one-year fixed term starting in September based out of the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Specific responsibilities include reviewing arguments and evidence of record, analyzing pertinent legal and technical issues, and recommending to PTAB judges how to resolve various issues. PTAB judicial law clerks also attend case conferences, observe oral arguments, and complete a variety of writing assignments, such as bench memoranda, opinions, orders, and summaries of prior art and technology. Build your legal skills and create a professional network with other law clerks, USPTO and PTAB staff, patent practitioners, and most importantly, PTAB judges, who may become lifelong mentors.


Ready to apply?