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 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. Students who participate in the spring or fall semester are eligible for 3 or 4 units of live client work. Each unit is equivalent to 5 hours per week, totaling 15 or 20 hours per week for client representation. Work within the clinic space is required and students are expected to be available to meet with clients during their designated 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 successfully completed Professional Responsibility and Civil Procedure I. Concurrent enrollment or completion of Evidence and Civil Procedure II is also required.

Students must also be eligible to become a California certified law student. To become a California certified law student, students must have completed their first year of law school, be in good standing, and have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Civil Procedure II and Evidence. Once admitted into the Patent Clinic, students will apply to become a California certified law student. To learn more about becoming a California certified law student, visit the California bar website.

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 United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 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 (patent bar 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 Professor JD Cowart, Patent Clinic 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 on a rolling basis until all spots are filled, with an ultimate deadline of August 10, 2018 for the fall semester. Applicants may be required to be interviewed by the supervising attorney of the clinic before a final selection is made.

Please register for any other courses you are interested in taking, as you are not guaranteed a slot in the clinic once you apply. If you are accepted, you can then add/drop units as needed. Do not waitlist yourself for the class. Visit the Patent Clinic for more information.