Welcome to the California Western School of Law USPTO Trademark Clinic.
Information for Students
Information for Clients
The California Western School of Law United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Trademark Clinic ("Trademark Clinic") is a pro bono clinic staffed with student practitioners that focuses on the application and registration process for federal trademarks and service marks. The Trademark Clinic does not represent mark owners in opposition or cancellation actions before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, nor does it provide representation in litigation or licensing matters. Though services provided by the Trademark Clinic are free, applicants must pay out-of-pocket expenses, such as USPTO filing fees.
The Law School Clinic Certification Program of the USPTO allows law students enrolled in a participating law school’s clinic program to practice trademark law before the USPTO under the strict guidance of a law school faculty clinic supervisor. Student Practitioners are granted a provisional license to practice law before the USPTO by the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline.
The goal of the clinic is to provide an opportunity to qualified second or third year law students to learn trademark prosecution skills and to practice those skills while serving the small business community. Trademark Clinic students gain experience drafting and filing trademark applications for the clinic’s clients. Further, the students may also gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with trademark examining attorneys.
The student practitioners sign up for the Clinic for one 13-week semester. Because many trademark matters take several months to complete, it may be necessary for more than one student practitioner to work on a client’s matter before the matter is resolved.
Client Eligibility & Intake Process
Not all persons who apply may be eligible for acceptance as a client into the Trademark Clinic. Acceptance into this program requires each prospective pro bono client to be screened for eligibility. Clients of the Trademark Clinic are selected based upon a number of factors, including their financial need, the matter passing a conflict check, the educational value to the Trademark Clinic students, and the Clinic’s caseload.
If eligible, the client may be invited to phone intake interview. Participating in the phone intake interview does not constitute acceptance by the clinic of the case. Following the phone interview the Clinic will determine if it can take on the case. If appropriate, the Clinic will ask the prospective client to sign and return a written engagement agreement, even though there will be no attorneys’ fees charged. Representation of the client does not begin until the engagement agreement is signed by both the client and the Supervising Attorney. Representation will end when the application is registered, or abandoned.
The prospective client must be prepared to file the application, and promptly respond to clinic communications. Pursuant to USPTO rules, clients must be individuals, not-for-profits, or small businesses who are unable to afford the typical legal fees associated with federal trademark filings, but who have the financial means to pay their own official fees. Income eligibility is determined by the USPTO micro-entity threshold.
The Trademark Clinic cannot represent clients in contested matters, matters in which there is a known legal claim, or a demand is being made or is likely to be made on the prospective client.
The Trademark Clinic reserves the right in any individual case to waive all or any portion of the client eligibility rules, to include additional conditions on a case-by-case basis, or to change the criteria without notice according to its sole discretion and the best interests of the clinical program.
The Trademark Clinic currently has a full docket. As such, it is unlikely the Trademark Clinic will be able to accept new clients at this time. However, if you meet our eligibility criteria and are willing to wait for assistance, the Trademark Clinic may add you to its potential client list.
If you think you may qualify and are interested in the services of the Trademark Clinic, please complete the intake form, which can be accessed by clicking the "Intake Form" link on the right of the page.
Please note that some trademark rights are time sensitive. Thus, delaying your project may result in the loss of trademark rights. If your trademark matter is time sensitive please do not wait for the Trademark Clinic to review your matter for possible representation.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Professor Carrie Hedayati at CHedayati@cwsl.edu for more information.