Patent Clinic

Hands-On Experience Preparing Patent Applications

Previously known as the Intellectual Property and Technology Clinic - Patents.

Students in the Patent Clinic help clients prepare, file, and prosecute applications for patent protection in the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). In the Patent Clinic, you will be assigned actual clients with real-world inventions across a range of technologies. You will work directly with your clients, a professor who actively practices patent law and USPTO patent examiners throughout the semester, using limited practitioner authority granted to you by the USPTO.

Student work in the Patent Clinic typically includes:

  • Client interviewing
  • Counseling on patentability
  • Limited-scope patentability / novelty searches
  • Determining the application type
  • Drafting the description / specification, associated claims, and an abstract
  • Consulting with professional illustrators to create appropriate drawings
  • Filing a completed application
  • Responding to United States Patent and Trademark Office actions rejecting or objecting to portions of a filed application
  • Converting provisional applications into non-provisional applications
  • Managing client files with law practice management software of the sort common to law firms large and small

Our goal is providing each student with a learning experience unsurpassed in even the best law firm or in-house environments. Your client work will be supervised and written work product reviewed by one or more practicing professors, each with years of experience preparing, filing, and prosecuting patent applications. You will be introduced to and work with the same materials these attorneys use in daily life, develop the oral and written skills needed for effective client work, collaborate with your colleagues on tougher issues, and enjoy multiple opportunities for feedback along the way.

Each student in the Patent Law Clinic must meet the technical qualifications set forth by the USPTO in the General Requirements Bulletin with regard to qualifications for registration to practice before the USPTO in patent cases, including the necessary legal, scientific, and technological qualifications. See the USPTO General Requirements Bulletin at https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/OED_GRB.pdf.

Course Information

Course Catalog Description:
Intellectual Property and Technology Clinic
Emphasis on general patent issues; includes counseling clients, conducting registerability or patentability searches and preparing patentability opinions for clinic clients, drafting and filing of patent applications and response to Office Actions.

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
• Professional Responsibility -- completed, or concurrently enrolled. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic.

Recommended Courses:
​None

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law school
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations
• Each student in the Patent Law Clinic must meet the technical qualifications set forth by the USPTO in the General Requirements Bulletin with regard to qualifications for registration to practice before the USPTO in patent cases, including the necessary legal, scientific, and technological qualifications. See the USPTO General Requirements Bulletin at https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/OED_GRB.pdf.

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
​​Three (​3) credit hours
Class meets once per week for two (2) hours, with an additional eight and one-half (8.5) hours of client work per week, scheduled by each student to fit within their individual calendar, subject to approval by the professor.
Counts towards oral skills requirement

Terms available:
Fall and Spring

Evaluation:
​Graded

Dropping Clinics:
Given the unique nature of clinics and the ethical obligations that arise for our attorneys when they expose students to actual client cases, students will not be allowed to drop a clinic after the first week of classes.

Faculty:
​Full-time and Adjunct Professors

Location:
Our clinics operate as a law firm where students are the associates. To foster that environment, classes and most working hours take place in the clinical offices (Star-Telegram Building, downtown Fort Worth – a five minute walk from the main campus). However, meetings with professors may occur on the main campus, and client work can sometimes be done remotely.

Considerations

Since clinics operate differently than doctrinal, writing, and other simulation courses, students must keep in mind the following before enrolling:

  • All clinical courses meet in the Clinical Program Office located in the Star-Telegram Building at 307 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 0.6 mile walk from the Law School building to the clinical space.

  • All 3 and 4 unit clinic courses require that students spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at the clinical space.

  • Per our Academic Standards, students are expected to submit logs of their time to their supervising attorneys to receive credit. Your instructor will provide you with direction of how to keep track of your time.

  • In order to provide all of our students with a clinical opportunity, you cannot enroll in more than one clinic in any one semester.

  • You may not enroll in an externship and a clinic in the same semester unless authorized by the Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

  • If you plan to be employed by a law firm, government agency, or other unit engaged in providing legal services during the semester, you must disclose the employer’s information so the clinical program can determine if there are any conflicts that prevent the student from enrolling in the clinic.

  • Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Unless a special accommodation is necessary, free student parking is not available in the clinic space. The cost to valet in the Star-Telegram Building is $10. There is additional parking in the area that ranges from $6 to $10. Street metered parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student Application

Student applications for the Patent Clinic are available online:

Applications are reviewed and approved for enrollment on an individual basis, so there is no Howdy registration. As part of the application submission, students will be required to upload their current resume as a PDF. Students should apply by the deadline listed on the course schedule. Students who are admitted to the clinic will be enrolled and notified by a faculty member or administrator in the Clinical Program Office. Questions about the clinics or the application process can be answered by emailing experiential@law.tamu.edu.

To participate in the ​Patent Clinic, students must have a science or engineering background as set forth by the USPTO.

Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Conflicts:
Clinics operate as law firms. Conflicts may arise if students enroll in a clinic and also work in a law firm or government agency in the first semester. If you plan to intern, extern, or otherwise, work during the semester you are in clinic, you will need to discuss with Dean Herrera. On the application you will be asked to indicate if you plan to intern, extern, or work elsewhere during the semester(s) you are applying for.