Delaware inventors offered free patent help

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(Invention photovia ShutterStock)

The pro bono help from students at Widener University Delaware Law School is designed to support the state’s next big thing.

Solo inventors and small businesses with inventions can now get help managing the web of rules and requirements for securing a patent.

“Budding inventors will soon be on the fast track to getting their innovations patented,” said Senator Chris Coons, D-Delaware. “Many inventors will tell you that navigating the complex and arcane United States patent process is one of the more daunting chores in bringing an invention to market.”

Law students will collaborate with registered patent attorneys and agents with assistance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Attorneys James Lennon, a partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, and Joan Kluger, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg, will serve as lead attorney volunteers for the program.

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Widener Professor Alan Garfield, who leads the program, says it’s good for both inventors and students. “Our law students will have an opportunity to assist with the pro bono program, patent attorneys and agents,” Garfield said. “[The students] will have an opportunity to use their expertise for pro bono work, and the free legal services will support innovation in Delaware.”

To qualify for assistance, inventors must meet income eligibility requirements and be Delaware residents. Solo inventors must have a total household income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty line. Small businesses seeking help must have total income of less than $150,000 in the previous calendar year. Inventors must also have a general understanding of the patent system. 

Inventors can apply for help at Widener’s website.

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