News and Media


Penn State IPC Launches Patent Pro Bono Program

Published by: Penn State Law Intellectual Property Clinic

The Penn State Law in University Park Intellectual Property Law Clinic (IPC) today announced a collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) establishing a new Patent Pro Bono Program for Pennsylvania. The Penn State Law IPC will serve as a clearinghouse for the program to connect volunteer patent practitioners with eligible inventors seeking legal assistance to help prepare, file, and prosecute patent applications. Volunteer practitioners will provide their legal services free of charge to qualified inventors under the program.

Young counsel 'love' for pro-bono helps firms train and retain

Published by: Managing IP

Lawyers say doing free patent prosecution work for independent inventors and small businesses gives them more experience and job satisfaction. Michael Horton and Valencia Burton, inventors matched by California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) say it was very important to have legal support because they would not have been able to afford their patent, which costs an average of $10,000 to obtain, without it. Horton says that the CLA program and others like it are wonderful and supportive mechanisms for inventors like him.

USPTO announces recipients of the 2019 Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate

Published by The IP Watchdog Blog

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the recipients of the 2019 Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate in recognition of individuals and law firms who help make the Patent Pro Bono Program available to financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses.

The Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents

Published by The New York Times

Intellectual property theft has always been a problem, but it has never affected as many people as it does today. If you operate a small business, you probably qualify for trademark protection, and if you invent something, you may be able to patent it. If you’re trying to obtain a patent, the Patent and Trademark Office has a program, the Patent Pro Bono Program, that offers inventors and small businesses free legal assistance.

New USPTO Program Gives IP Attorneys a Unique Opportunity to Give Back

Published by Ohio State Bar Association staff

A big challenge facing inventors today often is not inventing the next big idea, it is protecting it. Local inventor and arcade game designer, Adam Wray, can affirm that securing a patent can be one of the more daunting endeavors associated with entrepreneurship, due to the time-consuming and costly nature of the process. Wray was one of the first inventors to secure a patent through the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program.

Seattle Public Library to Business Podcasts featuring USPTO Patent Pro Bono

Published by the Seattle Public Library 

The Seattle Public Library to Business Podcasts featured a USPTO Patent Pro Bono Speaker on January 21, 2020, for an audience of small businesses and entrepreneurs to learn about IP protection. Access the podcasthere.

Pro Bono Certification Form Announcement

The USPTO Patent Pro Bono Team is pleased to announce the availability of Form AIA/440.  This Form certifies that a patent application was filed pro bono.  Including Form AIA/440 when filing a patent application will help the USPTO better track application filing data for financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses. 

Form AIA/440 is available in the Electronic Filing System (EFS).  It is also located under “Miscellaneous Forms” on the USPTO forms page at Form AIA/440

Use of Form AIA/440 is encouraged. However, filing Form AIA/440 is voluntary and should only be done after consultation with the pro bono client.  Please email any questions regarding Form AIA/440 to

One inventor’s Cinderella story

Published by Inventors Eye
Space exploration has been, and continues to be, a source of amazement for many Americans. Kyle Snowberger is no exception. When he was young boy, NASA’s space program enchanted him like a fairytale, and he dreamed of being a part of it. As he grew older, he began checking all the right boxes to turn that dream into reality. He worked hard, studied hard, earned a degree in aerospace engineering, worked for a major Department of Defense (DoD) contractor, and continued to work hard. Yet, in spite of Snowberger’s efforts, he still found himself without the resources to pursue his dream.

An Inventive Solution

Published by University of Washington 
A paint roller that makes working in tight corners efficient and easy. A simple method to grow crops anywhere on earth using parking-space sized “farmlets.” An easy-to-use surgical instrument that ensures consistent sutures for abdominal surgeries.

Northeast Ohio inventor patents ion-propelled aircraft with help from the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program

Published by Case Western Reserve University
Guitar teacher Ethan Krauss of Oberlin, Ohio recently obtained a U.S. patent for his ion-propelled aircraft with help from volunteer attorneys as part of the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program and Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s IP Venture Clinic (IPVC). “I’ve been working on this for 18 years,” said Krauss, 55, of Oberlin. “When I was a kid, I’d order plans for hang-gliders and hovercraft from Popular Science magazine; I would build them. I started to design my own vehicles from there. I built solar-powered vehicles when I was in my 20s.”

ProBoPat Success Story | Bryan's Story

Bryan Laurel fashioned his own cleaning tool from plumbing parts and other janitorial equipment components. Bryan began thinking about more uses for his invention, including car washing and household cleaning, and patenting his invention. The quotes Bryan received made patenting the invention seem out of reach. Then Bryan learned of the ProBoPat program. With the help of the ProBoPat program, which connects low-income entrepreneurs with volunteer patent professionals who provide legal services on a pro bono basis via the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, Bryan received his patent in the mail nine months after it was filed.

Patent Pro Bono is Good for the Economy and Law Practice Programs

Published by ABA's Law Practice Magazine
Elizabeth Dougherty, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach and Recognition at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), notes that "throughout our history people have come to America looking for the freedom and opportunity to be independent, create something of their own, and claim a piece of the universe." She goes on to explain, in Brett Stern's book Inventors at Work: The Minds and Motivation Behind Modern Inventions, "This quest has driven our success as a nation." This is Dougherty's take on the American dream.

Idaho Patent and Trademark Resource Center Opens and Supports the Idaho Patent Pro Bono Program

Intellectual Property Resources for Small Businesses

Published by
Under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses may secure free legal representation to help them protect their inventions through the USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program. Located across the country, each pro bono program matches independent inventors and small businesses with volunteer patent attorneys to help them navigate the process for obtaining a patent. To date, more than 800 attorneys have volunteered through the program, and in order to assist even more independent inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses in 2017, the USPTO is looking for more attorneys to participate.

Full Article 

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.

Full Review

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.

Full Article

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.

Full Article  Print PDF

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.

Full Article

Additional Resources

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