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The USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program, Law Review

Published by CYBARIS, An Intellectual Property Law Review
Jennifer M. McDowell was the previous Pro Bono Coordinator of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She was previously an Associate Counsel in the USPTO's Office of the General Counsel. Saurabh Vishnubhakat is an Expert Advisor in the USPTO's Office of the Chief Economist. Sincere thanks to Grant Corboy and Jeffrey Siew for their tireless efforts in support of the Patent Pro Bono Program, to Janet Gongola for helpful comments, and to Alan Marco and Charles DeGrazia for valuable data assistance.

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How The Patent Pro Bono Program Is Making A Difference

Published by Law360, New York (September 15, 2015, 9:44 AM ET)
In the past four years, patent practitioners have launched pro bono programs across the country to provide free legal assistance to financially under-resourced inventors, beginning with a pilot in Minnesota in 2011. Under the USPTO’s leadership, all 50 states have now launched a regional program. California inventor Zbigniew Doroszkiewicz’s story exemplifies the positive impact these programs are making on the lives of inventors.

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President Barack Obama Announces 50 States Pro Bono Expansion

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary - August 4, 2015

Fact Sheet: President Obama Announces New Commitments from Investors, Companies, Universities, and Cities to Advance Inclusive Entrepreneurship at First-Ever White House Demo Day

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama will host the first-ever White House Demo Day focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, welcoming startup founders from diverse walks of life and from across the country to showcase their innovations. The President will announce new public- and private-sector commitments that promise to provide more Americans with the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas.

America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. But, we need to do more to make sure that we are tapping our full entrepreneurial potential – drawing on talented Americans from all backgrounds and locations.

Providing free legal assistance for innovators in all 50 states. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is announcing that its Patent Pro Bono Program, which provides free legal assistance to under-resourced inventors in securing patent protection for their inventions, will now extend to all 50 states. The Pro Bono Program joins the growing range of initiatives that make the USPTO’s services more available to a broader range of entrepreneurs. These initiatives include discounted fees for small and micro entities, the Pro Se Assistance Program for inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a patent attorney, and the opening of USPTO regional offices.

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An Update On USPTO's Patent Pro Bono Initiative

Published by Law360, New York (February 02, 2015, 10:09 AM ET) --“Without question, my greatest satisfactions in life, apart from my family, have come from the services I have rendered to individuals and families and, on a larger scale, to my community. They have not come from the financial successes I fortunately have been able to enjoy, but from knowing that my energies and possible creativity have been of benefit to others.” —Alan V. Lowenstein

The introduction of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act brought many changes to the U.S. patent system, including conversion to a first-inventor-file system to harmonize U.S. patent law with that of other industrialized countries. Another equally important provision in the AIA mandates that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "work with and support intellectual property law associations across the country in the establishment of pro bono programs designed to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses.” In February 2014, President Obama issued an executive action calling on the USPTO to expand the existing patent pro bono programs to all 50 states.

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