The California Western School of Law United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Trademark Clinic ("Trademark Clinic") is a pro bono clinic. Students working in this clinic focus on the application and registration process for federal trademarks and service marks.
Information for Students
Sample Syllabus: USPTO Trademark Clinic
Information for Clients
- Information for Former Clients with a Registered Trademark
- Request for Representation
The Trademark Clinic does not represent mark owners in opposition or cancellation actions before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The clinic also does not provide representation in litigation or licensing matters. Services provided by the Trademark Clinic are free, but applicants must pay out-of-pocket expenses, such as USPTO filing fees.
The Law School Clinic Certification Program of the USPTO allows law students enrolled in a participating law school’s clinic program to practice trademark law before the USPTO under the strict guidance of a law school faculty clinic supervisor. The Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline grants student practitioners a provisional license to practice law before the USPTO.
The clinic gives qualified second or third-year law students the opportunity to learn trademark prosecution skills and to practice those skills while serving the small business community. Trademark Clinic students, who serve for 13-weeks a semester, gain experience drafting and filing trademark applications for the clinic’s clients. Students may also gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with trademark examining attorneys.
Since trademark matters take several months to complete, more than one student practitioner may be assigned to work on a client’s matter before it is resolved.
Client Eligibility & Intake Process
Not all persons who apply are eligible for acceptance as a client into the Trademark Clinic. Program acceptance requires each prospective pro bono client to be screened for eligibility. Clients of the Trademark Clinic are selected based on a number of factors, including their financial need, the matter passing a conflict check, the educational value to the Trademark Clinic students, and the Clinic’s caseload.
If eligible, the client could be invited for a phone intake interview. Please note, that completing a phone intake interview does not mean the clinic will accept you or your case. After the phone interview, the Trademark Clinic will determine if it can take on the case. If appropriate, the Clinic will ask the prospective client to sign and return a written engagement agreement, even though there will be no attorneys’ fees charged. Representation of the client does not begin until the engagement agreement is signed by both the client and the Supervising Attorney. Representation will end when the application is registered or abandoned.
The prospective client must be prepared to file the application and promptly respond to clinic communications. Pursuant to USPTO rules, clients must be individuals, not-for-profits, or small businesses who are unable to afford the typical legal fees associated with federal trademark filings, but who have the financial means to pay their own official fees. Income eligibility is determined by the USPTO micro-entity threshold.
The Trademark Clinic cannot represent clients in contested matters, matters in which there is a known legal claim, or a demand is being made or is likely to be made on the prospective client.
The Trademark Clinic reserves the right in any individual case to waive all or any portion of the client eligibility rules, to include additional conditions on a case-by-case basis, or to change the criteria without notice according to its sole discretion and the best interests of the clinical program.
The Trademark Clinic currently has a full docket. It is unlikely the Trademark Clinic will be able to accept new clients at this time. However, if you meet our eligibility criteria and are willing to wait for assistance, the Trademark Clinic may add you to its potential client list.
If you think you may qualify and are interested in the services of the Trademark Clinic, please complete the intake form.
Please note that some trademark rights are time-sensitive. Thus, delaying your project may result in the loss of trademark rights. If your trademark matter is time-sensitive, please do not wait for the Trademark Clinic to review your matter for possible representation.
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