The law firms of Lindquist & Vennum PLLP and Patterson Thuente IP announce the completion of their joint project, a comprehensive guide to setting up patent law pro bono programs, titled Patent Law Pro Bono: A Best Practices Handbook. A provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) requires the United States Patent & Trademark Office to work with IP law organizations to develop pro bono programs for low-income inventors. The Handbook will serve as a guide for these organizations, located across the country, as they create patent law pro bono programs. Currently there are at least five state and regional programs in some stage of development.
The first patent law pro bono program was a pilot project in Minnesota, developed before the pro bono provision was added to the AIA. It was created by leaders in the Minnesota legal com-munity who recognized the need to provide pro bono assistance to independent inventors and was set up to assist inventors with prosecuting patent applications. As news of the project spread and interest in other states increased, it was clear that others could benefit greatly from what was learned during the Minnesota pilot. The Handbook explains the issues vetted during the pilot and the resulting solutions. It provides sample forms and acts as a blueprint for other programs to follow that will be updated as other projects come on line and can share lessons learned.
The Handbook was authored by Mark R. Privratsky, a partner at Lindquist & Vennum and Chair of its Intellectual Property Group, and Amy M. Salmela, a partner at Patterson Thuente IP, both of who were instrumental in setting up the Minnesota pilot program. Commenting on the Handbook, the authors said, “We are proud to be part of the Minnesota pilot project, which recently celebrated its first anniversary and is about to have its second patent grant on behalf of a client.”
The Handbook will be published online and in print through Cybaris, An Intellectual Property Law Review
, and will also be available through WestLaw.