The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is offering new pilot program through which law students will be able to gain practical experience practicing intellectual property (IP) law before the agency.
During this two-year pilot program, the USPTO will work with law school clinical faculty from a select group of schools to give law students real-world opportunities to practice either patent or trademark law.
Students in the program can choose to practice either patent law or trademark law. A student choosing the patent program could expect to draft and file a patent application, draft and file a response to an office action, or draft and file a brief or reply brief in an appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences from final rejections. A student choosing the trademark program could expect to draft and file a trademark application, respond to an office action, or draft and file a brief or reply brief in an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board from final refusals.
The USPTO plans to choose between three to five schools to participate in the pilot program. To be considered, law schools are asked to submit information regarding their IP clinical program. When a school is accepted into the pilot program, further details will be needed concerning the participating students. All students applying for the patent and trademark programs must have requisite legal qualifications, and be of good moral character and reputation. To qualify to practice in the patent program, each student must also have the required scientific and technical qualifications for registration. The USPTO will grant approval for limited recognition of the law student attorneys after finding each student qualified.
Applications from law schools to participate in the pilot Law School Clinical Certification Program are being accepted through 30 May 2008. Further information is available at: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/oed/lawschoolclinicalcertpilot.htm