Patent Legal Services for Lower-Income Individuals and Organizations

Solo inventors and businesses or non-profits with a patentable idea can get legal help from one of 28 law schools in the country and the only one in San Diego County with a patent clinic certified by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Thomas Jefferson School of Law students, under the supervision of California licensed patent attorneys, work with lower-income inventors and businesses with a developed idea but without the means to hire a patent attorney to advise them. Patent protection is essential to establishing a thriving business and getting recognition for a successful invention. Students who participate in the Patent Clinic will work directly with clients and gain practical experience in problem solving, client development, drafting and critical thinking skills. For students who wish to apply to work in the Patent Clinic, go to the Patent Clinic Student Eligibility and Requirements webpage.


The Patent Clinic is part of the Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program administered by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). The clinic’s legal services are free. However, individuals and organizations receiving Patent Clinic assistance must pay all USPTO administrative fees. Click on the link for more information about the USPTO program.


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


Thomas Jefferson School of Law students who work in the Patent Clinic do not represent clients in court. They cannot file international patent applications and cannot manage or administer maintenance fees for issued patents.


Potential clients are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the USPTO administrative fee structure for patents.


Potential Patent Clinic clients must meet financial eligibility requirements by completing the Request for Services Form. Walk-in services are not available. For more information about our services, please call the phone number listed below.


Patent Clinic
Small Business Law Center
Thomas Jefferson School of Law


495 Eleventh Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101


Phone: 619.961.4382
Fax: 619.961.1382