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Law students to practice before U.S. patent and trademark office

by Michael Kirk - September 8, 2008

Students in the School of Law’s intellectual property clinic will now have the opportunity to practice law before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

UConn is one of six institutions nationwide selected to participate in a new two-year pilot program launched by the Office this fall.

Students in the program will practice under the guidance of supervising attorneys. They will choose to practice either patent or trademark law, and will have the opportunity to draft and file applications, responses to office actions, and briefs in appeals.

Jeremy Paul, dean of the law school, says the selection of UConn’s intellectual property clinic by the Patent and Trademark Office “ratifies the wisdom of the governor and the Connecticut General Assembly in investing in the law school’s important new program aimed at invigorating our state’s economy and training our students in this vital area of the law.”

UConn’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic is part of the University’s Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Established by the state legislature, it is designed to strengthen Connecticut’s economy with innovative new programs aimed at supporting emerging companies.

Law students counsel Connecticut’s innovators on patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrecy issues, as well as related business law matters.

Because innovators encounter challenges arising from both the law and the marketplace, the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation partners the law school’s intellectual property clinic with the business school’s Innovation Accelerator.

Hillary Greene, the clinic’s director, says “The IP Clinic provides students with the unique opportunity to counsel innovator-entrepreneurs on an extensive range of intellectual property issues. This is a tremendous opportunity for our students, and also for the law school, which has a broad-based commitment to clinical education, an innovative approach to the study of intellectual property law, and a dedication to serving the people of Connecticut.”

Other participating law schools are the American University Washington College of Law; The John Marshall Law School in Chicago; the University of Maine School of Law; Vanderbilt Law School; and William Mitchell College of Law, an independent law school in St. Paul, Minn.

Jon Dudas, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, says, “We look forward to providing a real-world experience for the students so they will be well prepared to tackle the complexities of intellectual property law that are so important in today’s economy.”

Students applying for the patent and trademark programs must have certain legal prerequisites, and those wishing to practice in the patent program must also have certain scientific and technical prerequisites.

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