The University of Arizona’s College of Law is launching a pro bono patent program for Arizona inventors.
The Arizona Public Patent Program is designed to help financially under-resourced independent inventors, small businesses and startup companies obtain free legal counsel from local patent attorneys in filing patent applications and protecting their innovations.
In 2015, nearly 3,000 patent applications were filed in Arizona, according to a UA news release. The complex legal process can cost up to $20,000.
The UA is just one of four law schools in the country designated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a pro bono hub to serve inventors.
Before earning the designation, Arizona residents were funneled to a California pro bono program, according to the UA.
In addition to matching inventors with Arizona attorneys for pro bono legal work, the UA will offer attorneys the services of students to assist on cases, giving law students to chance to build relationships with intellectual property attorneys.
The James E. Rogers College of Law has also been admitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Law School Certification Program, allowing intellectual-property law students to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, file patent applications and negotiate directly with patent examiners — work that otherwise could not be done until graduating from law school and passing the patent bar exam.