The statewide program for low-income makers, inventors and startups making what’s next.

PA Patent Legal Services

PA Patent is actively collecting applications from partnering firms and attorneys as well inventors and small businesses who can participate in from our services:

  • Core Pro Bono Legal Services: Our experienced and passionate volunteer attorneys are available to inventors who meet our budget and income requirements.
  • Full Service Representation: PVLA volunteer lawyers take on patent matters pro-bono, subject to all of the ethical and other requirements of any attorney-client relationship.
  • Courtesy Attorney List: PVLA will issue a list of several attorneys who may assist at a reduced rate.
  • Educational Materials: Inquire about having patent law education materials sent to you.
  • Agency Referrals: We would be happy to refer a client to another local or national agency that may be a better fit.

CLIENT APPLICATION

Our PVLA patent service application process includes the following:

  • A Certificate of Completion of the USPTO’s patent pro bono training module;
  • Proof of income and assets;
  • A description of the invention; and
  • A nonrefundable application fee.

These materials are only required if an inventor would like to apply to be matched to an attorney for pro bono legal representation or advice. These materials are unnecessary for those clients who would like to request a referral list or educational materials. Application fees may be waived upon showing of hardship.

Apply Now – Legal Professionals
Apply Now – Inventors
Generally, no. We ask that individual attorneys utilize their firm or company’s malpractice insurance.  Many firms and companies have insurance policies with a specific pro bono rider. Attorneys should check with their firm or company prior to inquiring about PVLA coverage. With questions about PVLA coverage, contact the PVLA Director.
PVLA requires all new program volunteers to attend a 3-credit Continuing Legal Education (CLE) orientation course covering best practices in pro bono casework though ethics, case study and panel discussion.
Applicants are encouraged to apply directly to the program by clicking on the website link above.  In addition, applicants can apply by filing out a pro bono service request form through the Federal Circuit Bar Association’s (FCBA) National Clearinghouse.
All applicants are required to complete a certificate of training through a course offered by the USPTO that introduces the applicants to the general requirements for obtaining a patent and the general patent prosecution process.
PVLA carefully screens clients through its client application process to determine all potential parties to a legal matter and provides potential volunteers with this information along with a general category of invention in order to avoid conflicts of interest.  The potential volunteers are then responsible for determining whether they have conflicts of interest.
All clients must meet PVLA’s screening criteria including income requirements. The subject matter of the application may also be screened.
Clients are responsible for all USPTO fees associated with the representation.  PVLA will provide a credit card authorization form and instructions for using the form in order for a client’s credit card to be used to authorize payment of fees at the USPTO.
Clients typically require help responding to Restriction Requirements, Office Actions or other official communications from the USPTO. In some cases, clients may only require help with converting a provisional application to a non-provisional application or drafting a provisional application. PVLA will specify the scope of assistance needed when matching a volunteer to the individual client.
PVLA’s involvement ends once the PVLA administrator has matched an attorney and client, the organization’s involvement ends, aside from periodic reporting requirements.  The representation relationship is between the client and the attorney.
The PVLA strives to maintain a positive and open relationship with the attorneys and firms working in its community. If a client indicates a prior attorney relationship on the same or similar legal issues, the PVLA will contact the attorney (with the permission of client) to determine whether the PVLA’s assistance is suitable.
The PVLA and the volunteer attorney’s efforts do not include representation in cases requiring litigation.  The PVLA makes this clear to prospective clients.   Often, a client seeks assistance to avert litigation.  Litigation can commence regardless of that assistance. The PVLA does not expect its volunteers to engage in the litigation portion of representation and will not bind its volunteers to such representation. Volunteers are free to represent clients during the litigation phase, but the representation will not be under the auspices of PVLA.
The PVLA will ask the client to complete a case closing form and return it to the PVLA.  It is essential for the PVLA to collect this information to accurately report to the government, funders, the public and other stakeholders.
Apply Now – Legal Professionals
Apply Now – Inventors

Support Legal Services for the Arts! Each year, PVLA sees an increasing demand from our arts community for access to justice – combined with an increasing demand from the legal community for homegrown, compelling pro bono work that fosters ongoing professional development. By making a tax deductible contribution to the ABC Scholarship or General Fund, you can help ensure Philadelphia remains a global creative capital, where companies and communities thrive together.

Presented By

Supporting Sponsors

With Assistance From

Print Sponsor

In Partnership with

MORE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Learn more
Technology Connectors
Learn more
Business Volunteers for the Arts
Learn more