Patent Clinic

Hands-On Experience Preparing Patent Applications

lightbulb idea graphicStudents in the Patent Clinic help inventors prepare, file, and prosecute applications for patent protection in the United States Patent & Trademark Office. From knock-out searches to office action responses, Patent Clinic students work with actual clients on real-world inventions, helping turn ideas into realities. As a clinic student, you manage all aspects of your client matters, with help when you need it from experienced supervising attorneys. In addition, Patent Clinic students with technical backgrounds may qualify to work directly with patent examiners.

Student work in the Patent Clinic typically includes:

  • Client interviewing and intake
  • Counseling on patent issues
  • Limited-scope patentability / novelty searches
  • Determining the application type
  • Drafting the descriptions, claims, and abstracts
  • Working with illustrators to create drawings
  • Responding to ​office actions
  • Converting provisional applications into non-provisional applications
  • Managing client files with software used by law firms

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 in patent law. You will be introduced to and work with the same substantive materials and practice management platforms 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.

Course Information

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
In order to enroll in a Fall or Spring clinic, you must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Professional Responsibility. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic. There are limited waivers of this requirement, but only if a student worked full-time in a law firm or other position requiring the handling of confidential information for one year or more before attending law school.

Recommended Courses:
Patent Law

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law school
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
​​​Four (4) credit hours
Class meets once per week for two (2) hours, with an additional ​twelve (​12) 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

Students are advised to review the Clinic Application & Registration Information Packet before submitting an application.

Student applications for the Patent Clinic are available online:

There is no Howdy registration for clinics. Instead, applications are reviewed and students are accepted during registration period on a rolling basis. Priority is given to applications we receive by November 10. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in order to secure a seat in the clinic of their choice for the semester they would like. Once a seat has been secured, registration is handled on your behalf 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.