Pro Bono Patent Service

The Program

Limited pro bono patent services are available to qualifying individuals and companies.

In December of 2014, GatewayVMS signed an agreement with the US Patent and Trademark Office providing assistance to to administer a patent pro bono patent program for residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

The goal of the national program is to connect under-resourced inventors, identified as individuals at 300% of the Federal Poverty Line and below (table), with pro bono patent services in order to help those products reach the market so that they might be commercialized or sold off.

Eligibility

Solo Inventors who …

  • have a total household income of less than 300% of the poverty rate; and
  • are not currently under an obligation to assign the rights to the invention

Non-profits that …

  • have 4 or fewer inventors who are under an obligation to assign the rights to the organization;
  • have 501(c)(3) status;
  • have budgets of less than $1 million per year;
  • are not research institutions or institutions of higher learning; and
  • are not currently under any obligation to assign the rights to the invention to another entity.

Small businesses that …

  • have 4 or fewer inventors who are under an obligation to assign the rights to the organization, where all inventors have current household incomes of less than 300% of the poverty level;
  • had a total gross income of less than $150,000 in the preceding calendar year, and expect a total gross income of less than $150,000 in the current calendar year;
  • are not currently under any obligation to assign the rights to the invention to another entity.

Fees

We offer access to pro bono legal assistance in the form of free attorney and/or patent agent time in helping inventors prepare and file for their patents.  Inventors remain responsible for paying an administrative fee for attorney placement, and all applicable fees owed to the United States Patent & Trademark Office during the prosecution process.  These fees are greatly reduced (up to 75% off the standard rate) for “micro-entities” such as those qualifying under this program.

GVMS charges a nominal administrative fee, payable with your intake application.  The fee does not go to the attorney or patent agent, and is separate from any fees due to the USPTO during the patent prosecution process.  This fee helps GVMS defray the costs associated with running its pro bono programs.

Once the fee is paid, inventors will receive a reference number with their emailed receipt. This number can then be entered into the form to complete processing. Without this reference number, the form cannot be processed.

 

 

 

Apply Now

Qualified entities may apply through our five-state program which serves Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska provides a means for inventors and IP attorneys to look at the potential of new ideas and develop a path forward.

Please contact us with any questions.

2016 Poverty Guidelines

Number in Household Poverty Level 300% Poverty
1 $11,880 $35,640
2 $16,020 $48,060
3 $20,160 $60,480
4 $24,300 $72,900
5 $28,440 $85,320
6 $32,580 $97,740
7 $36,730 $110,190
8 $40,890 $122,670

For more than 8, add $4,160/person to determine poverty (or $12,480 for 300% poverty), but no single inventor may have a total household income of more than $150,000. Please see https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines for more information.

Additionally, placement with a volunteer patent agent/attorney remains within the sole discretion of the program administrator.

Disqualification
Pursuant to 37 CFR § 1.29, we will not accept any application where one of the listed inventors has been named on more than 4 previous U.S. Patents or Pending Applications. There is a limited exception for former employees who have assigned all rights to the patent to a former employer.