Patent Law Clinic

Information for Potential Clients

Let Us Help You Protect Your Invention

How Can We Help You?

The Patent Clinic helps inventors by providing assistance with preparing and filing applications for patent protection in the United States Patent & Trademark Office, responding to related office actions, and providing guidance for maintenance of patent registrations.

Our services include:

  • Counseling on patentability
  • Limited-scope patentability / novelty searches
  • Determining the application type
  • Drafting the specification, claims, and an abstract
  • Assistance with ordering drawings from an illustrator
  • Filing a completed application
  • Responding to office actions refusing to grant a patent

Please note: our clinic is limited to working with inventions that are primarily mechanical, though they can have simple electrical, pneumatic, or hydraulic aspects. We are not able to assist with methods, processes, or compositions of matter.

Am I eligible for ​clinic assistance?

Texas residents with limited financial resources in need of legal counsel related to an application for patent protection in the United States Patent & Trademark Office are encouraged to apply. The clinic generally defines limited financial resources as annual gross income from all sources amounting to less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. You can access a table showing the precise dollar amounts for this year here.

Once the financial guidelines above are met, clients are selected based on a variety of factors, including financial need, educational value to the law students, potential for positive impact in the community, and timing. Although our legal services are provided at no charge, clients are responsible for certain fees and other costs that may be necessary. For example, clients are responsible for the fees payable to the United States Patent & Trademark Office for all filings made with that office in connection with an application for trademark registration, and any extended search fees charged by third-party search companies that a client may deem necessary. All such fees will be paid directly to the United States Patent & Trademark Office or third party search provider by the client.

When is help available?

The clinic operates from January – April (spring) and August – November (fall), corresponding with the semesters in our academic calendar. While many matters can be handled in a single semester, the academic calendar means there will be delays between periods of work for matters that take longer than a single semester to complete, and those delays can range from five weeks (in the winter) to three months (in the summer).

Please also note that we currently have a waitlist for our services, but welcome applications nonetheless and will be in contact when we have a view toward assisting you. If your matter requires urgent or ongoing attention without delays, we suggest you contact another legal services provider.

​Who works on my case?

Our services are provided by law students working under the supervision of experienced attorneys. However, as trademark applications take more than one semester to prepare, file, and see through the United States Patent & Trademark Office procedures, it is likely that different students (and perhaps a different supervising attorney) may take over from one semester to the next.

How do I apply?

To apply, please complete a Request for Legal Services form and submit it online. Our clinic does not accept client applications in person or over the phone.

The Patent Law Clinic is unable to assist you with the following:

  • Freedom to operate, right to use, infringement, validity, state-of-the-art, collection, or mining searches
  • Inter-partes review, post-grant review, or other Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings
  • Preparing and filing documents to maintain (renew) an existing patent
  • Litigation of any kind
  • Fundraising or financing to develop your business or invention (e.g., venture capital)
  • Fundraising or financing to pay any filing, maintenance (renewal), or other fees
  • Foreign patent applications