Student Eligibility and Requirements

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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.

Scientists and engineers participate in the law school's flexible patent law enrichment program to build a greater depth of knowledge for working with patent attorneys at their companies or to become patent agents. These students participate in skill building classes such as Patent Claim Drafting and work in the patent clinic. They may also take substantive courses such as Patent Law to further enhance their depth of understanding. At each stage, students will interact with our expert professors and practitioners, including a partner at a major patent law firm and in-house IP counsel for a major technology firm. And those interested in taking the patent bar will receive the guidance of our faculty as they prepare.

Hollie Kucera, '16
Electrical Engineer

“The Patent Program at Thomas Jefferson School of Law provided me with invaluable experience working with clients, drafting patent applications, and handling filings on EFS Web. This experience set me apart from other young professionals in the field of Intellectual Property law and allowed me hit the ground running at my first job without having to go through the typical learning curve that most new hires face.”

What is required to participate?

To participate in the Patent Clinic, JD students must have successfully completed Professional Responsibility and Civil Procedure I. Concurrent enrollment or completion of Evidence and Civil Procedure II is also required.

JD 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, JD and Patent Enrichment Program 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, JD and Patent Enrichment Program students must send the following to a statement of interest addressed to Professor Trevor Coddington, Patent Clinic Supervising Attorney, a resume, an unofficial TJSL transcript (JD Students Only), 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 a deadline of August 10, 2020 for the fall semester. Applicants may be required to be interviewed by the supervising attorney of the clinic before a final selection is made.

JD students should 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.