Patent Pro Bono Program

The Program

In December of 2014, GatewayVMS signed an agreement with the US Patent and Trademark Office providing assistance to administer a patent pro bono program for residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Our program formally launched on February 19, 2015, and is based out of St. Louis, Missouri.

Our mission is to support under-resourced and financially-constrained inventors at 300% of the Federal Poverty Line and below, seeking patent protection by providing pro bono legal assistance and access to entrepreneurial support services, including commercialization guidance.

Our ultimate goal is to increase access and connectivity to pro bono patent services and resources for under-resourced and financially-constrained inventors.

See the table below for income eligibility. Please also click here to learn more about the USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program.

Eligibility

2017 Poverty Guidelines

Number in Household Poverty Level 300% Poverty
1 $12,060 $36,180
2 $16,240 $48,720
3 $20,420 $61,260
4 $24,600 $73,800
5 $28,780 $86,340
6 $32,960 $98,880
7 $37,140 $111,420
8 $41,320 $123,960

For more than 8, add $4,180/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.

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

Provisional Patent Standing

If your provisional patent expiration date is within 3 months of the day you apply for our services you are not eligible for our patent pro bono program. We cannot guarantee placement with a patent pro bono attorney before your expiration date.

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.

GatewayVMS charges a nominal administrative fee, payable as a part of 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 GatewayVMS 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.

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