Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis recently introduced introduced the bipartisan Unleashing American Innovators Act. This bill highlights the Patent Pro Bono Program as a way to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the patent system. Accordingly, the USPTO anticipates an increased need for volunteer practitioners.
CLA members who are patent practitioners are uniquely positioned to help financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses with filing and prosecuting patent applications. The PTO is asking you to consider helping those who could not otherwise afford to do so engage in our innovation economy. Patent practitioners can volunteer through their local patent pro bono program. Please see here or here for more information on how to volunteer. The local program screens applicants using criteria that include: (1) household income; (2) knowledge of the patent system; and (3) possession of an actual invention (not merely an idea) to ensure that each inventor or small business is a good candidate for assistance. Continuing legal education credits may be available.