Bennet: New Pro Bono Patent Program Will Help Colorado's Entrepreneurs, Inventors

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released the following statement on U.S. Patent Director David Kappos’ announcement of the new Colorado Pro Bono Patent Initiative (ProBoPat), which seeks to connect Colorado patent professionals with Colorado inventors who don’t have the resources to acquire services for patent preparation and legal services.   

“It’s good to see the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Colorado Bar Association and the Mi Casa Resource Center move forward with this initiative. It will help Colorado’s entrepreneurs and inventors receive the legal help they need to secure and protect their patents,” said Bennet. “The ProBoPat program will be an important resource for Colorado’s growing innovative sector and inventors who would otherwise struggle to protect their inventions.”

As part of the implementation of the America Invents Act, which Bennet helped pass in the Senate, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is establishing pro bono programs across the country to help low-income inventors prosecute their patents.

The ProBoPat program is funded by outside sources. 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 on the inventor’s annual income or the inventors’ aggregate annual income. Upon satisfying this eligibility requirement, the ProBoPat program works 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).

Last year, Bennet secured an amendment, cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, in the patent reform law that empowers the USPTO to establish three new satellite patent offices across the country over the next three years.

Over the past year, Bennet and the Colorado delegation have sent letters to President Obama and USPTO Director David Kappos encouraging them to consider Colorado for a job-creating satellite office. In January, Bennet staff members also joined Colorado business leaders to hand-deliver a package of support from Coloradans urging the USPTO to select Colorado as the location for a new satellite patent office.