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April 7, 2008

Another Day, Another Pilot

A recently announced USPTO pilot program will allow students, from several hand-picked law schools, to gain real-world experience by practicing before the agency. It is difficult to imagine this endeavor continuing beyond the initial two-year pilot. The value of such a pilot therefore appears minimal, acting more as a diversion from bad publicity than as an earnest effort.

From the PTO announcement:

"We are pleased to offer this pilot program because we believe it will help participating law students gain perspective on the USPTO's role in the global IP system," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. "We hope the experience will inspire these students to pursue careers in IP law-perhaps even here at the USPTO."

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 May 30, 2008. Application information is available online at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/oed/lawschoolclinicalcertpilot.htm.

Posted by Mr. Platinum at April 7, 2008 7:45 PM | The Patent Office


I suggest they use students from the law school at GW - preferably only those who are also enrolled in the business school. That way, when the law/B-school students suggest to Margaret P. how to fix the PTO, they can have some real PTO practice experience behind them.

On second thought, that would kind of ruin the point of Marge's exercise, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Federally Circuitous at April 8, 2008 2:00 AM

Sounds like a lame attempt by PTO (mis)management to brainwash practitioners with the "Quality = Reject, Reject, Reject" mentality that newbie examiners get in the PTA.

Any smart law student would stay as far away as possible and would get practice experience from people who have actual practice experience, i.e. would clerk at a firm.

Another monumental waste of time from the PTO. I guess they have nothing better to do. Maybe the 760,000+ case backlog and the 32+ month pendency problems will solve themselves.

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2008 5:17 AM