Skip to main content

TJSL Selected for U.S. Patent Pilot Program

July 23, 2012

Patent Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has selected Thomas Jefferson School of Law to participate in its Patent Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program, making TJSL the only law school in California to be chosen.

San Diego IP Attorney Ross Franks will be the Supervising Attorney of the pilot program at TJSL.

“The USPTO patent pilot program provides a small number of law schools the unique opportunity to teach students the hands-on practice of patent law and provides valuable patent services to the solo-inventor, non-profit and small business communities,” said  Franks. “It is an honor that TJSL was selected to be a part of the patent pilot program.  I believe the program will help prepare students for making an immediate impact in their post-graduation patent jobs.  I am excited to be a part of the patent program and for the TJSL students who will get to participate.”

The USPTO’s patent program fits in well with the TJSL Small Business Law Center’s (SBLC) focus on helping small business and micro-entrepreneurs with their IP needs. It allows students in a law school’s clinical program to practice IP law before the USPTO under the supervision of a law school faculty clinic supervisor, and it will increase the ability of the SBLC to serve the community.

The program authorizes TJSL students to practice before the USPTO.  They will file actual patent applications for actual clients and manage that application through the entire process. TJSL students will correspond with PTO patent examiners and write responses to office actions.

“This level of experience is equal to what students would receive as licensed patent agents or junior attorneys practicing patent law,” said Professor Julie Cromer Young, the director of TJSL’s Center for Law and Intellectual Property. “It is a rare opportunity for the students to cement the knowledge gained in the classroom with skills gained from real interactions, as opposed to simulations. “

A special feature of the program is that the USPTO will expedite the application review process, which can normally take years, for those filed by students.

“The benefit this might provide to the students is receiving the USPTO examination results in a shorter time, which should give the students faster opportunities to experience more aspects of patent practice,” said Ross Franks.

The other schools newly selected for the USPTO program are: Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, University of Colorado Law School, Fordham University School of Law, University of Maryland Francis Carey School of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School, University of Puerto Rico Law School, University of Washington School of Law and Wayne State University Law School.

See the USPTO News Release

More Information About the Patent Pilot Program