The ProBoPatTM Program
- What is ProBoPat?
- How does ProBoPat work?
- Why should I or my company or firm contribute to the ProBoPat program?
- How is ProBoPat administered?
- Who appoints the steering members?
- How can I contribute?
- Who may volunteer in the ProBoPat program?
- I’m an inventor interested in the ProBoPat program. How do I sign up?
- How can I get more information?
What is ProBoPat?
As part of the implementation of the America Invents Act, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is establishing pro bono programs all across the country to help low-income inventors prosecute their patents. As part of this initiative, the Colorado Bar Association Intellectual Property Section and the Mi Casa Resource Center, in conjunction with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, have established the Pro Bono Patent Initiative or the ProBoPat program. The ProBoPat program seeks to connect low income Colorado inventors with Colorado patent professionals for patent preparation and prosecution legal services on a pro bono or significantly reduced-fee basis. The ProBoPat program also administers the program in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
How does ProBoPat work?
ProBoPat is a program funded by outside sources, like you, that connects attorneys willing to prosecute patents with low income inventors. Upon contacting the ProBoPat program, a ProBoPat-dedicated program administrator at the Mi Casa Resource Center makes an initial determination about whether the one or more inventors are eligible for participation in the ProBoPat program based upon the inventor’s annual income or the inventors’ aggregate annual income. Upon satisfying this eligibility requirement, the ProBoPat program endeavors to identify a licensed patent attorney(s) willing to assist the eligible inventor(s) on a free or low-fee basis. Once an eligible inventor is paired with an attorney, ProBoPat’s role is complete and the representation of the inventor occurs in the ordinary course, as determined by agreement between the participating attorney and the eligible inventor(s). ProBoPat will track, at a high-level, the program outcomes, including the number of inventors assisted, the types of technology involved in the patent prosecution, and the number of patents granted. ProBoPat’s volunteers will also provide periodic educational programs about intellectual property rights through the Mi Casa Resource Center.
More recently, ProBoPat has implemented a required patent search prior to putting an applicant onto the main referral list. As such, the applicant first goes to a volunteer searcher to perform a patent search, after which the representation ends and the applicant is to decide whether to proceed through the ProBoPat process to file a patent application.
Why should I or my company or firm contribute
to the ProBoPat program?
You should consider contributing to the ProBoPat program because the ProBoPat program:
- Promotes small business growth and entrepreneurialism in Colorado.
- Reinforces Colorado’s reputation as an incubator for high technology solutions.
- Educates low income inventors / small businesses about the patent process.
- Encourages mentoring among the Colorado patent bar, especially of students or less experienced practitioners.
- Provides patent practitioners with additional pro bono participation opportunities.
- Gives in-house counsel an opportunity to handle pro bono matters and interact with outside firms.
How is ProBoPat administered?
ProBoPat is administered by a dedicated ProBoPat program administrator at the Mi Casa Resource Center, a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that is acting as a fiscal sponsor of the Intellectual Property Section of the Colorado Bar Association (the Colorado IP Section). A steering committee formed by the Colorado IP Section monitors the effectiveness of the ProBoPat program and makes recommendations for improvements to the Mi Casa Resource Center.
Who appoints the steering members?
The Officers of the Colorado IP Section appoint the steering committee members in accordance with the Bylaws of the Colorado IP Section. The current committee members are:
- Ben Fernandez, co-chair, WilmerHale
- Kathleen Ott, Merchant & Gould P.C.
- Scott McMillan, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
- Tiffany Parcher, Covidien
- Elena Vasconez, Director of the Women’s Business Center, Mi Casa Resource Center
How can I contribute?
You can contribute to ProBoPat by:
1. Pledging to make a 3 year sustaining donation at any of the following levels:
-$3,000/year for 3 years
-$2,000/year for 3 years
-$1,000/year for 3 years
-A one-time donation of any amount
2. Making a one-time donation.
To make a donation, download and submit the ProBoPat Donor Pledge Form.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes, your donation is tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law. The Mi Casa Resource Center, as a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, will provide you a receipt for the donation for your tax records. Should you have any questions regarding the deductibility of contributions to the Mi Casa Resource Center and/or the ProBoPat program, please consult with your tax advisor.
What will the money be used for?
Donations will be used to fund a part-time administrator position to handle all program communications with participants and volunteer lawyers, as well as associated overhead, promotional, and programming costs.
Who may volunteer in the ProBoPat program?
We encourage all patent attorneys and agents who are registered, in good standing, to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and who reside within the State of Colorado to volunteer to represent low-income inventors through ProBoPat. The ProBoPat program also welcomes participation from interested law students from surrounding law schools. Please contact one of the steering committee members if you have an interest in participating.
I’m an inventor interested in the ProBoPat program.
How do I sign up?
To become an inventor participant, download and submit the ProBoPat application form.
April 1, 2016 – ProBoPat Application Updated
Applications submitted after April 1, 2016 must use the new application form.
How can I get more information?
Please read the FAQ document (linked at the top of the page), or contact ProBoPat at 303-573-1302 or ProBoPat@MiCasaResourceCenter.org.