The USPTO is extending their pro bono efforts to allow those establishing a need to retain voluntary pro bono ex parte examination appeal counsel and eventually pro bono counsel for all proceedings conducted at the Board. This initiative was announced in a notice and on their website. This is the third pro bono program following a patent preparation and prosecution program and a trademark program, as described on their website. Another program is the law school clinic certification program, which “includes over 60 participating law school clinics that provide legal services pro bono to the public, including to inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.”

This commendable effort, as described by the acting Director, “is another example of the USPTO’s commitment to level the playing field for all inventors and provide equitable access to all aspects of our world-class innovation ecosystem…We don’t want the cost of legal services to be a barrier to pursuing a patent for anyone. We are excited to partner with the PTAB Bar Association on this program, which will benefit inventors, practitioners, and the entire patent community.”

Similar programs are available through various law school clinics. Our firm has worked with the Cardozo Patent Diversity Project as an example. Their goal is “to increase the number of U.S. patents issued to women and inventors of color.”

The USPTO encourages the patent bar to consider signing up for each pro bono program to give back to deserving entrepreneurs during all phases of the patent and trademark processes.

This article appeared in the March 2022 issue of PTAB Strategies and Insights. To view our past issues, as well as other firm newsletters, please click here.

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