The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at UConn School of Law provides students with the unique opportunity to counsel Connecticut's innovators, entrepreneurs and startups on a wide range of intellectual property (patent, trademark, copyright) law issues.
Since the IP Law Clinic opened its doors in January 2007, it has assisted more than 300 clients, hailing from all eight counties in Connecticut and representing more than 85 cities and towns. Under the direction and guidance of supervising attorneys, the clinic's students are involved in various aspects of client matters, including but not limited to conducting client intake meetings and interviews, performing patentability and trademark clearance searches, drafting patent and trademark applications, and interacting with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office in the procurement of patents and the registration of trademarks and copyrights. The clinic does not provide services relating to the enforcement or defense of intellectual property that may result in litigation.
In July 2008, the IP Law Clinic was one of only six law school clinics in the nation selected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to participate in a two-year pilot program under which law students were granted limited recognition to practice law (while under attorney supervision) before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This program has been extended and the IP Law Clinic continues its participation in the program today.
The IP Law Clinic combines three of the finest traditions at UConn Law — its broad-based commitment to clinical and experiential education, its innovative approach to the study of intellectual property law and its dedication to serving the people of Connecticut. The IP Law Clinic operates independently of other legal clinics associated with UConn School of Law, but is a member of the UConn Entrepreneurship & Innovation Consortium, a collective initiative of the schools of Engineering and Business, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President of Research.
Under the supervision of experienced intellectual property attorneys, IP Law Clinic students represent Connecticut-based individuals, startups, small businesses and non-profit organizations in a broad range of intellectual property matters. The clinical experience provides intensive practical training in real world intellectual property matters and provides the students with the practical skills needed to represent clients.
Base students spend three hours per week in class and approximately eight hours per week working on client matters. The weekly seminar class explores key legal issues regarding the solicitation, procurement and protection of intellectual property that commonly arise in intellectual property-based transactions and prosecution. Class topics include the following general categories relating to intellectual property: basic lawyering skills and legal ethics, including client interaction and counseling; patent and trademark searching, application preparation, filing and prosecution; IP litigation; licensing issues; trade secrets; and copyright.
The clinic's law students are involved in various aspects of client matters, including but not limited to conducting client intake meetings and interviews, performing patentability and trademark clearance searches, drafting patent and trademark applications and interacting with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office in the procurement of patents and the registration of trademarks and copyrights. Under the guidance of supervising attorneys, students in the IP Law Clinic are granted limited recognition to practice before the Patent and Trademark Office and routinely counsel clients, who are typically small business owners, and represent them in patent and trademark matters as part of a program operated by the Patent and Trademark Office. This program offers law students the opportunity to be practice ready in intellectual property matters upon graduation.
A scientific or engineering background is required to participate in the patent part of the program.
Patent Law (Law 7716) is a pre-requisite for students with science or technology backgrounds who will be doing patent work while enrolled in the clinic, but it may be taken as a co-requisite if the student has already completed Intellectual Property (LAW 7715). For students who will not be doing patent work while enrolled in the clinic, either one of the following pre-requisites is sufficient: Intellectual Property (LAW 7715) or Trademark Law (LAW 7939).
Joseph A. DeGirolamo, Director and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Susan K. Pocchiari, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Patent Attorney
Michael Blake, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Patent Attorney
Andy Corea, Trademark Supervising Attorney
Regina von Gootkin, Trademark Supervising Attorney
Kathleen E. Lombardi, Program Coordinator
UConn’s IP Law Clinic clients are drawn from Connecticut's innovator-entrepreneurs who demonstrate financial need, have basic intellectual property law needs and are committed to the development and use of their intellectual property in generating economic growth in Connecticut.
Client services currently available include, but are not limited to, patentability searches, preparation of provisional/non-provisional patent applications, trademark clearances and registration applications, copyright matters, and the drafting of related intellectual property agreements. Because the IP Law Clinic is an instructional program, prospective clients should understand that the progression of work in the clinic is at a slower pace than if a non-clinic attorney were retained.
Although IP Law Clinic services are free, clients are responsible for all U.S. Patent & Trademark Office fees and other costs that may be necessary for the clinic to provide assistance, including, for example, the fees for filing a patent, trademark or copyright application, and expenses related to copying, postage and the like.
To be eligible to receive an application for the IP Law Clinic's program, you must: (1) have a presence in Connecticut, i.e. be a resident of Connecticut or have a business located in Connecticut; and (2) be seeking assistance with regard to the procurement or protection of intellectual property in the United States, e.g. a patent, trademark, or copyright. Other criteria considered by the IP Law Clinic include, but are not limited to, demonstrated financial need for services, the educational opportunity for the students, the clinic’s own resource constraints and limits on operating capacity, the likelihood that the clinic’s services will contribute to developing jobs or generating revenue for Connecticut, conflicts of interest, and the fit with the clinic’s current activities and technology requirements. Please note that submission of an application does not create an attorney-client relationship with the clinic or any of its attorneys.
The IP Law Clinic does not handle international or foreign intellectual property matters and does not work on matters relating to any intellectual property proceedings before a tribunal, including but not limited to, appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Inter Partes Review proceedings, trademark oppositions or cancellation proceedings.
To learn more, you may contact the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at email@example.com. Please be advised that by contacting the IP Law Clinic, there should be no expectation that the clinic will necessarily form a relationship with you or accept you into the clinic program.