USPTO Pro Bono Program Lifts Up Struggling Inventors

By Matthew Bultman (May 19, 2017, 4:13 PM EDT) -- One Thursday in 2010, Patterson Thuente Pedersen PA founding partner James Patterson was at lunch in Minneapolis with then-U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos when the conversation turned to pro bono work.

Kappos mentioned he wanted to start a program with free legal services to help small businesses and other inventors get patents. Earlier attempts to get similar programs off the ground had failed, and Patterson, while supportive of the idea, was skeptical the conversation would lead to something.

The following Monday, he got a call from John Calvert, then a senior staff member at the USPTO.

"He called...

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