USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program
This rulemaking is required by a Public Law enacted on December 16, 2014. This law requires the United States Patent and Trademark Office (``Office'' or ``USPTO'') Director to establish regulations and procedures for application to and participation in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program. This law removed the ``pilot'' status of the USPTO's existing law school clinic certification program. The program allows students enrolled in a participating law school's clinic to practice patent and trademark law before the USPTO under the direct supervision of a faculty clinic supervisor by drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent or trademark applications, or both, on a pro bono basis for clients who qualify for assistance from the law school's clinic. In this way, these student practitioners gain valuable experience drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent and trademark applications that would otherwise be unavailable to students while in law school. The program also facilitates the provision of pro bono services to trademark and patent applicants who lack the financial resources to pay for legal representation. The proposed rules incorporate the requirements and procedures developed and implemented during the pilot phase of the program.