How to volunteer

Are you a patent practitioner and interested in providing pro bono services for eligible inventors? If so, you can volunteer by applying directly with the regional Patent Pro Bono Program in the state or region in which you practice.

When filing pro bono, consider including Form AIA/440, Certification of Pro Bono Representation.  This form certifies that a filing was pro bono to better track assistance provided to financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses. The form is selectable in the Electronic Filing System.

Pro Bono - FAQs


Patent Pro Bono Program volunteer recognition

We want to recognize all patent practitioners who dedicate their professional expertise to make the Patent Pro Bono Program a success. Registered patent practitioners who volunteer their services are often engaged in very busy practices, which makes their pro bono contributions all the more meaningful. In appreciation, we offer the Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate* to:

  • Eligible registered patent practitioners who volunteer with a regional patent pro bono program
  • Eligible law firms or corporations who support their registered patent practitioners’ efforts

Individual achievement certificate and public recognition

All registered patent practitioners who have contributed at least 50 hours of pro bono service through one of the regional patent pro bono programs in a calendar year will be eligible for a certificate. Recipients may also choose to have their names listed on our website for public recognition


Pro bono certificate for individuals


Please contact your regional patent pro bono program for more information.

Law firm or corporate achievement certificate and public recognition

The USPTO also provides Pro Bono achievement certificates recognizing law firms or corporations for their accomplishments in patent pro bono service for each calendar year. The certificates will be available to law firms and corporations having registered practitioners who cumulatively contribute a minimum number hours to one or more participating regional patent pro bono programs. The minimum number of hours required will vary by the number of registered practitioners employed. Recipient law firms and corporations may also choose to have their names listed on our website for public recognition.


Pro bono certificate for law firms


Law Firm and corporate achievement certificate minimum hours

No. Reg. Practitioners EmployedMinimum Hours

Additional Resources/Information

Patent lawyers Amy Salmela and Mark Privratsky created a handbook to help volunteer attorneys get the most out of their pro bono experience: Patent Law Pro Bono: A Best Practices Guide.

Click here for the Practitioner Flyer

* Availability of the Certificates and public recognition is subject to the voluntary participation of each regional patent pro bono program. Each regional patent pro bono program is independent of the USPTO.