UCLA Patent and Trademark Law Clinics

Client Eligibility Criteria

The America Invents Act (AIA) encourages the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to "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." 

The Law School Clinic Certification Pilot program of the USPTO allows law students enrolled in a participating law school’s clinic program to practice Intellectual Property Law before the USPTO under the strict guidance of a law school faculty clinic supervisor. The program currently consists of students practicing in both patent and trademark law before the USPTO.  The program is administered by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline. The Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline grants the law students limited recognition to practice before the Office.

Students gain experience drafting and filing either patent applications or trademark applications for clients of the law school clinic.  Further, as they are authorized to practice before the USPTO, they gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with either patent examiners or trademark examining attorneys for the applications they have filed.

The Law School Clinic Certification Pilot program is not formally affiliated with the USPTO pro bono program administered by the Federal Circuit Bar Association, but it does not charge clients fees for any services rendered. Clients are responsible for paying the USPTO filing fees and other costs affiliated with their applications.  Review some of the additional costs that clients may have to pay to the USPTO.

Client Eligibility Rules

The goal of the clinic is to provide an opportunity to qualified UCLA law students in their second or third year to learn patent and trademark prosecution skills and to have an opportunity to practice those skills subject to supervision by an experienced lawyer.  Not all persons who apply may be eligible for acceptance as a client into the UCLA Patent and Trademark Clinical Program (the UCLA USPTO Clinics).  Acceptance into the pro bono program requires each prospective pro bono client to be screened for eligibility.

Applications by prospective clients will be reviewed by the Supervising Attorney or Clinic Director and at least one student to determine eligibility.  If eligible, the client will be invited to a personal or telephonic intake interview with the Supervising Attorney and at least one student and requested, if appropriate, to sign and return a written retainer agreement, even though there will be no attorneys’ fees charged.  Representation of the client does not begin until the retainer agreement is signed by both the client and the Supervising Attorney or Clinic Director.  Representation will end when the application is registered, granted or abandoned.

The prospective client must be in a position to be ready for filing, be seriously committed to his or her project, and to be income means tested, but have at least the financial means to pay his or her own official filing fees.  The following criterial will be used to determine client eligibility for legal services from UCLA USPTO:

  • A prospective client’s gross income from all sources must be at or below $150,000 per year. Proof of income is required.
  • The prospective client must demonstrate it has the USPTO fees needed to file their patent or trademark application.
  • The prospective client must have an invention, not merely an idea. Prospective clients will be asked to articulate their invention as one that third parties can potentially use. 

The UCLA USPTO Clinics cannot take on the following:

  • Contested matters or matters in which there is a known legal claim or demand is being made or is likely to be made on the prospective client.
  • Matters which are time sensitive for any reason, including a potential bar within the next 30 days, are not accepted without explicit permission of the Supervising Attorney or Clinical Director. 

The UCLA USPTO Clinics reserve the right in any individual case to waive all or any portion of the client eligibility rules, to include additional conditions on a case-by-case basis or to change the criteria without notice according to its sole discretion and the best interests of the program.

prospective clients apply here