Through the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program, more than 2,700 law school clinic students have been able to practice patent and/or trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of a Faculty Clinic Supervisor. Not only has this provided superior legal training and invaluable experience to these students, but by providing their IP services to the public pro bono, this has also increased access to legal representation for the public.
The program came about as a result of a 2006 request for student practice in the agency by faculty of the American University Glushko-Samuelson IP Law Clinic. The AU faculty suggested the creation of a student practice rule in the agency modeled on the many student practice rules in state and federal courts across the country. The clinic’s students were appearing in federal court under such rules in IP matters, but were unable to participate in IP rights acquisition at the USPTO on their own.
By expanding education about patents, trademarks, and the patents and trademarks system at the law school level, independent inventors and entrepreneurs that have otherwise not been able to obtain quality legal services, have been afforded access to the competent legal representation necessary to succeed and compete in today’s economy.
This first annual report fulfills the requirements of the Law School Clinic Certification Program Act (P.L. 113-227) by describing the number of law schools and law students participating in the Law School Clinic Certification Program, the work done through the Program, the benefits of the Program, and any recommendations for modifications to the Program. A copy of the Report to Congress is available here.