As a responsible matchmaker of low income inventors and volunteer patent attorneys, the FCBA Regional Patent Pro Bono Program’s Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) must make certain that minimum program requirements are met, ensuring that those requesting pro bono assistance qualify for assistance and for referral into the program. Thus, the FCBA IAP has established four criteria for inventors and small businesses:
- First, inventors must show that they understand the patent process and what they can do with a patent once received. This can be done by successfully completing a USPTO training module found on the pro se/pro bono page of the USPTO website. A certificate of completion is available from that training module. Applicants will be required to provide that certificate to the FCBA IAP before their application for pro bono assistance will be processed.
- Second, all applicants will be required to provide financial information so that a determination can be made that they qualify for the program. Generally, the FCBA IAP uses an income threshold of 300% of the Federal poverty guidelines. To determine whether an inventor qualifies for the regional program, the FCBA IAP will take into account the number of dependents in the inventor’s household, and then multiply the poverty guideline number for that household size by three. If the inventor’s income is less than 300% of the Federal poverty guidelines, then the inventor is financially eligible for participation in the regional program.
- Third, the inventor must be able to describe his invention. This means not simply having an idea for an invention, but rather, the inventor must be able to explain how someone could make the invention.
- If you live within Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, or DC and would like to apply to the regional FCBA IAP, please go to the National Clearinghouse Application Submission link in the Pro Bono & Scholarships drop down above.
If you are a registered patent attorney in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, or DC and would like to volunteer for the regional, please join our PTO Pro Bono Committee.