USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program Annual Report to Congress
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.
The WCL clinic petition, memo requesting student practice in the agency, and the clinics response to request for comment are available below:
Information on current student practice program at the USPTO is available at https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/ip-policy/public-information-about-practitioners/law-school-clinic-1
The first annual report filed by the USPTO for the Law School Clinic Certification Program Act (P.L. 113-227) is available here.
Student attorneys on one of the IP Clinic policy teams helped prepare reply comments for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in opposition of GC Docket No. 10-213, petition for class waiver regarding access to advanced communication services in E-Readers for people with disabilities. Student attorneys urged the FCC to enforce its rules requiring that devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook be accessible to visually-impaired users.
Digital Millenium Copyright Act Triennial Rulemaking
Every three years the Copyright Office holds a proceeding to consider and grant limited exemptions to for users who can show the law is creating a substantial burden on free expression or other valuable activities. Student attorneys have worked on several DCMA exemption petitions, notably with Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, asking for exemptions for audiovisual works on behalf of college and university students and professors.
Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC)
Clinic students collaborated with Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) who, in the course of preserving and providing access to historical dance works, has encountered issues regarding works for whom the owners could not be found and/or contacted. On behalf of DHC, the Clinic prepared a comment conveying DHC’s unique circumstances that was submitted to the Copyright Office in response to a call for comments on Orphan Works. The purpose of the comment was to ensure the preservation of dance’s cultural history for generations to come and ensure that the voices of those seeking to preserve this cultural history were heard during the formation of potential orphan works legislation.
Professor Peter Decherney
Comments to the Copyright Office regarding its anti-circumvention rulemaking under the DMCA, requesting the creation, renewal, and expansion of exemptions for film professors and students accessing DVDs for educational purposes.
2011-2012, 2009, 2008-2009, 2005-2006
Media Literacy Education
Comments in DMCA triennial rulemaking proposing an exemption for K-12 teachers who use audiovisual works for educational purposes.
Digital Education Coalition
Comments in response to FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding net neutrality.
The Internet Archive
Comments in DMCA triennial rulemaking proposing an exemption for a class of works which requires obsolete operating systems or hardware as a condition of access.
Copyright Clearance Initiative
Comments to Copyright Office in response to Notice of Inquiry regarding Orphan works.
American Library Association Broadcast Flag
Comments on FCC proposal for a broadcast flag for digital copy control.