Patent Pro Bono Program

The arts have greatly influenced technology and innovation. Through our Patent Pro Bono Program, we are able to provide pro bono patent assistance to artists, creators, and independent inventors who are interested in applying for a design patent or a utility patent. The main goal is to provide application drafting services for those who have not yet filed an application for a patent. Those who have already filed a provisional application, or have filed a non-provisional application and have received a USPTO office action, may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.

How the program works

If you are an inventor:

Step 1: Fill out an intake form HERE (preferred) or email to register your interest.

Step 2: VLA will send you a questionnaire to see if you qualify to participate in the program.

Step 3: Once VLA receives your completed questionnaire, it will be reviewed by an attorney. Often, the reviewing attorney will have substantive follow-up questions. This intake process can take several weeks to several months.

Step 4:  If an attorney recommends that your case move forward, VLA will schedule a screening consultation with an attorney. During the consultation, you will receive preliminary advice on how to protect your invention before filing your patent application. Prior to booking a consultation, a VLA membership fee is due (further details here).

Discounts are available for full-time students. Financially-eligible inventors over the age of 60 are entitled to a free VLA membership. 

Step 5: For financially-eligible inventors, matters ready for pro bono representation are circulated within our network of volunteer attorneys. A volunteer patent attorney will contact you, should they decide to take on your case. While our placement rates are high, we cannot guarantee placement.

If you are an attorney:

To volunteer for a case, we require that attorneys attend an hour long orientation. At the orientation you will learn important information about our programs, volunteer requirements, and administrative procedures. To register for the next orientation, click HERE.

For more information about the USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program, click HERE.

Other Resources:

The Inventor’s Patent Academy

USPTO Subscription Center

USPTO Free Resources

USPTO Inventor and Entrepreneur Resources

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