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Texas AIA - USPTO Pro Bono Patent Assistance Program


In 2011, Congress passed the America Invents Act (AIA), which called for the U.S. Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) to establish new satellite patent offices to be opened nationwide by 2014. As a result, the north Texas region will get 1 of 4 satellite patent offices, which will open in 2014. The other 3 are being established in San Jose, CA; Denver, CO; and Detroit, MI.

Texas and Southwest U.S. cities are among the top sources of new patent applications in America, with more than a quarter of these patents awarded to small businesses. So, the establishment of a satellite office in north Texas is important for those businesses to continue creating jobs. Yet, one comment most often heard is that independent inventors sometimes cannot afford the cost of competent legal service to assist them in the preparation and prosecution of their patent application.

Inventor Assistance Pro Bono Program

One of the many answers to the concern of patent costs that the America Invents Act provides is the establishment of an Inventor Assistance Pro Bono Program. The Inventor Assistance Pro Bono Program provides a way to offer services to inventors and small businesses that meet a certain financial need level, have done a search themselves or through a service provider, and have gone through a training package developed by the USPTO. Under the Inventor Assistance Pro Bono Program, patent attorneys and agents in regions across the country will be able to serve inventors, advancing invention-based economic development.

Read more on the program here.

Check out the full press release here!


Pro Bono Assistance Office for Texas/South Central U.S. Announced

The Center for Innovation, an Arlington, Texas based non-profit organization, has been chosen to serve as the Texas and Southwestern U.S. regional office for the Inventor Assistance Pro Bono Program as part of the AIA pro bono initiative. The actual office was staffed and opened on  July 15, 2013.

Pro Bono Assistance Office Supported by TechComm

The Office is associated with TechComm, a federal technology transfer Partner Intermediary, established by the Center in 2010, at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Defense.  TechComm is a coalition of 9 U.S. federal agencies and the 334 federal labs they operate. Through TechComm, the Center works to advance the commercialization of federally funded research, by (1) the transfer of federal patented technology to business and industry for commercial use and manufacturing through Patent License Agreements (PLAs); (2) the establishment of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) between federal labs with university, business and industry partners; and (3) identifying technology from the market of interest to the federal agencies and labs, that can be procured by the federal agency/lab.

In support of TechComm, the Center has established a national network of corporations, universities, economic development organizations, and venture funds. Therefore, TechComm’s serving as the office for the Texas and Southwestern regional office of the Inventor Assistance Pro Bono Program offers a number of promising benefits.

Current Status

We are currently ascertaining interest in this initiative from 4 primary sectors:  (1) the legal community, (2) the business community, (3) law schools; and (4) the “technology transfer” community.  Our primary interest is to identify participants from each sector, that will work with the Center to assist in the development and implementation of a plan that will most effectively serve the pro bono clients, the volunteer patent attorneys/agents, and the USPTO. Participants will help lead our region in providing volunteer resources for appropriately identified and prepared inventors, as well as excellent pro bono service opportunities for patent attorneys and agents. Our inaugural meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, September 5, in Austin at the State Capital from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, followed by the initial meeting of the Steering Committee from 1:00 – 2:30 pm.

Contact Information

If you are interested in attending the meeting or being involved with the Pro Bono Assistance Program, please contact the Center for Innovation. The contact information is as follows:

Kelly Jackson

Director, Pro Bono Assistance Program
Center for Innovation
505 E. Border Street
Arlington, TX 76010
214/783-1499 C

Glenda McCall
Executive Assistant
Center for Innovation
505 E. Border Street
Arlington, TX 76010
817/543-4294 W




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