When an inventor has a great idea but can’t afford to apply for a patent, there are ways that you can still receive attorney representation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has implemented a Pro Bono Program through the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The USPTO instituted a network of intellectual property attorneys that can assist small businesses and independent investors in obtaining the intellectual property protections they deserve. New Jersey is covered under the New York Tri-State Program.
In order to be considered eligible for pro bono assistance, there are a number of qualifications the inventor must meet. First, the inventor must have a maximum household income of at least 300-percent of federal poverty levels. This information can help prove that you do not have the funds to obtain a patent on your own. Another requirement to be considered eligible for this program is do be able to display your knowledge of the patent program. You can do so by having a provisional or nonprovisional patent application on file or you can take the Certificate Training Course online. Finally, you will be required to show that you have an actual invention, not just an idea for an invention. Be sure that you don’t make your invention open to the public before filing a provisional application because someone else may steal it.
There are a number of different ways you can apply for this program after determining your eligibility. You can either apply with the regional program or you can go through the Federal Circuit Bar Association and National Clearinghouse. If you have an invention, consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney today.
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