Patent Pro Bono for Inventors

TALA, in partnership with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), presents the Patent Pro Bono program for inventors in Texas.

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With the goal of advancing invention based economic development, this unique program offers financially under-resourced, independent inventors in Texas assistance to file a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The Patent Pro Bono program provides services to individual inventors who meet financial qualifications and completed a training package developed by the USPTO.

Read more about the USPTO patent pro bono programs.

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TALA’s Patent Pro Bono program currently serves solo inventors who

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Before being accepted for the TALA Patent Pro Bono program, participants are required

  • to meet a financial criteria and residence requirement for qualification;
  • to complete the USPTO online course “Basic Patent Training for Independent Inventors and Small Businesses” and print out the certificate of completion;
  • either have a completed provisional application with at least 6 months left before the non-provisional is due OR have a determination of a patent attorney from TALA’s Patent Pro Bono clinic that the inventor is ready to enter the Program.

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Inventors who have filed a provisional application with the USPTO with at least six months remaining until the nonprovisional is due may enter the program directly.

Inventors who have not filed a provisional application may register to attend TALA’s Patent Pro Bono clinic and speak with a patent attorney advisor.  The patent advisor will evaluate the patentability, readiness, and fit for TALA’s Patent Pro Bono program.  Inventors who are screened through this process and are ready to proceed with a patent application will be allowed to enter the program after the clinic consultation. There is no charge for TALA’s Patent Pro Bono clinic.

Once accepted into the program, inventors pay a small fee of $100. If TALA is able to locate a pro bono professional to assist, there is no charge for the service and advice of the patent attorney or agent.  However, there are filing related fees payable to the USPTO that the client must cover.  These fees usually range from $400-$500.

Read TALA’s Patent Process and Related Costs document for more information.

Learn more about USPTO fees directly from the USPTO website.

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Ready to apply for the Patent Pro Bono program?

Please e-mail [email protected] if you have already filed a provisional application and have at least six months before the nonprovisional patent application is due.

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If you do not have a provisional patent and would like to attend TALA’s next Patent Pro Bono clinic and speak with a patent expert:

TALA’s April 2020 Patent Pro Bono clinic has passed. Please complete this form to be notified of TALA’s next Patent Pro Bono clinic opportunity.

If you are interested in joining the TALA Patent Pro Bono program without a provisional application, please complete this form to let us know.  Clinic dates will be scheduled based on participant interest.  

RESOURCES

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Basic Patent Training for Independent Inventors and Small Businesses USPTO Online Course

Access the online course here.

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About Prior Art

Inventors should always search for inventions already in public use that are the same or similar to their invention. This is called “Prior Art”.

A person shall be entitled to a patent unless —

  • (1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)

Why are Prior Art references important?
Under the Patent Law, “[o]n taking up an application for examination . . . the examiner shall make a thorough study thereof and shall make a thorough investigation of the available prior art relating to the subject matter of the claimed invention.” Essentially, if your invention is disclosed anywhere in the prior art, it is not patentable.

How do I search for Prior Art?
A great place to start is to look through existing patents. You may do so on the USPTO’s website, the European Patent Office’s website, any one of several paid subscription services, or by using Google Patents. A well-done search should reveal similar inventions, including those inventions upon which your own invention likely relies. More importantly, the prior art search should help educate you, as the inventor, as to the current state of your particular field.

See the USPTO website for more information about how to conduct a patent search.

TALA’s Patent Pro Bono program is generously supported through a partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.