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USPTO Expands Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Programme

Issued: March 05 2014

On February 27, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it would open the current Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Programme to admit a limited number of additional schools to commence participation in the fall 2014 academic semester. The programme allows law students to practice patent and/or trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of a law school faculty clinic supervisor. Submissions from interested law school clinical programmes will be accepted on a rolling basis from March 3 through June 2, 2014.

“The USPTO is committed to helping provide real-world experience to law students in the crucial field of patent and trademark law,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee. "The expansion of the law school pilot programme will train the next generation of lawyers to protect American ideas and support innovation, while providing more pro bono services to more communities nationwide."

Students in both the patent and trademark portions of the programme will have the opportunity to draft and file applications and respond to Office Actions. Each law school clinical programme must meet and maintain the requirements for USPTO certification for students to practice before the USPTO.

Currently, there are 27 participating law school clinics, including 11 in both the patent and trademark portions of the program, 12 participating in the trademark portion only, and four only in the patent portion. The 
pilot programme began in 2008 with six schools selected to participate. In 2010, the programme expanded to 10 additional law school clinics to the trademark portion of the programme. The programme was expanded again in 2012 to add 11 law school clinics to the patent portion of the program and nine clinics to the trademark portion.