Student Eligibility and Requirements

What is it?

The Patent Clinic is a vital component of the Small Business Law Center (SBLC) that focuses on providing legal assistance in the practice area of patent law. Students who participate in the Patent Clinic will have the opportunity to directly assist clients desiring to obtain patent protection for a patentable idea.  Students will be supervised during representation by a California licensed patent attorney, but students will have primary responsibility for all client matters undertaken.


Students enrolled in the Patent Clinic are required to participate in mandatory class meetings that focus on the lawyering skills necessary to effectively represent clients. In addition to discussing client interviewing and counseling, students will also focus on the substantive and administrative areas of patent practice relevant to the legal matters being handled, including issues of professional responsibility.


How does this fit into my academic program?

Participation in the Patent Clinic satisfies the Professional Skills graduation requirement and is a graded course not subject to the TJSL grading curve. Students who participate in the Patent Clinic are eligible for up to 4 units of client work (each unit is equivalent to 5 hours per week).  A minimum weekly client-work commitment is required, and will be determined on a semester-by-semester basis. Although remote work is permitted, work within the clinic space is encouraged and students are expected to be available to meet with clients as part of their clinic hours.  The mandatory clinical seminar, counts for an additional 2 units. Students cannot enroll in the Patent Clinic and receive pro bono hours in lieu of units.


What is required to participate?

To participate in the Patent Clinic, students must have completed Professional Responsibility and be eligible to become a California certified law student.  To become California certified, students must have completed their first year of law school, be in good standing, and have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Civil Procedure I and Evidence.  Please do not begin filling out an application to become California certified until you are formally enrolled in the Patent Clinic: there are only have a few slots, so not everyone who applies will be enrolled.


Additionally, students must have a qualifying scientific or technical undergraduate degree, as defined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Please see Section III of the USPTO’s General Requirements Bulletin for additional detail on this requirement.  NOTE: Students are not required to take and pass the USPTO registration examination, but must be qualified for the exam as described in the Bulletin.


How do I apply?

To apply for a slot in the Patent Clinic offering, students must send the following to a statement of interest addressed to the supervising attorney, a resume, an unofficial TJSL transcript, and an unofficial undergraduate transcript.  The statement of interest should describe the reasons why you are interested in participating in the Patent Clinic, and should highlight any past experiences or future plans to work in a transactional patent law practice setting.



Applications will be accepted as follows:


Spring Semester Applications accepted from October 18 to November 1


Fall Semester


Applications accepted from April 1 to April 15


Because the number of applicants will exceed the number of slots available, please register for any other courses in which you are interested.  If your application is accepted, you can then add / drop units as needed.


For more information about the Patent Clinic, please visit: