The Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) Patent Clinic provides free legal services to lower-income individuals and organizations having a patentable idea and desiring to obtain patent protection for that idea. Under the supervision of California licensed patent attorneys, our students are authorized to provide patent legal assistance to individuals and organizations that do not have the means to hire a patent attorney to advise them. While the clinic’s legal services are free, the individuals and organizations receiving Patent Clinic assistance must pay all USPTO administrative fees.
TJSL is one of only 11 law schools in the nation to have both a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent and Trademark clinic.
The TJSL Patent CLinic is an official part of the Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program administered by the USPTO. Follow this Internet link for more information about the USPTO program.
The Patent Clinic is now accepting requests for services from potential clients. The ideal client will be a lower-income solo inventor, small business or non-profit organization having a developed, patentable idea and a willingness to work with supervised law students.
The Patent Clinic provides patent legal assistance in the following areas:
- client counseling
- invention disclosure interview
- patentability search and opinion
- patent application preparation
- patent application filing (administrative fees paid by client)
- patent application prosecution to issuance (administrative fees paid by client)
- patent application appeals (limited)
- patent licensing
The Patent Clinic provides a wide variety of patent-related legal assistance; however, Patent Clinic students do not represent clients in court. Additionally, Patent Clinic students cannot file international patent applications, such as under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and do not manage or administer maintenance fees for issued patents.
The amount of client-paid, USPTO administrative fees will vary based on many factors, two of which are the type and size of the client (e.g., first time sole inventor vs. larger non-profit or corporation), and the size and complexity of the finished patent application. The USPTO application filing fees start as low as a few hundred dollars and go up from there, and are payable by the client when the patent application is filed.
In order to qualify for Patent Clinic representation, a potential client must make financial disclosures to determine eligibility and must be cleared through an internal TJSL conflict check. To find out if you are eligible for Patent Clinic services, please complete the Request for Services Form. The Patent Clinic is not able to accommodate walk-in service requests at this time; so please follow the request guidelines presented above. For more information about our services, please call the phone number listed below.
NOTE: Submission of a completed Request for Services Form does not guarantee that we can or will represent you and does not start our representation of you. You are not yet our client. You become our client only after we satisfactorily determine your eligibility and you sign a formal engagement letter that we provide to you.
Students who participate in the Patent Clinic will have the opportunity to directly assist clients desiring to obtain patent protection for a patentable idea. The clinical experience will provide students with practical opportunities to develop skills in problem solving, client development, drafting and critical thinking. Go to the Patent Clinic Student Eligibility and Requirements webpage for more information on the student application process.
Small Business Law Center
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
495 Eleventh Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101