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Small Business Legal Clinic Patent Program

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) patent program provides experiential legal training to second and third-year law student interns interested in patent law. Under the supervision of a patent attorney, interns take the lead role in the representation of low-income, small, and emerging businesses and non-profit organizations interested in patenting their invention. Interns learn to conduct the initial client interview, counsel clients on the patent process, draft provisional and nonprovisional patents, conduct patent searches and respond to United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) office actions. The SBLC is part of the USPTO law school clinic certification program. The USPTO grants interns limited recognition to practice before the USPTO.

The SBLC operates as a law firm. Interns track their time and maintain client files. Interns may participate in community outreach events or other public speaking engagements designed to educate and assist small businesses.

The Small Business Legal Clinic is a 3 credit, Pass/No Pass, one semester course with no final examination or paper requirement. Twice a week, interns attend a four-hour session (a total of eight hours per week) at the SBLC offices in downtown Portland. Attendance at the clinic sessions is mandatory because interns are the primary persons responsible for the representation of their clients. Patent program clinic hours are typically held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, during times that best meet the schedules of the interns and the supervising patent attorney, Adjunct Professor Joe Makuch.

Interns also attend a seminar on Fridays from 8:30am to 10:25am at the law school. Outside reading or other preparation for the Friday seminars typically does not exceed three hours per week. The seminars cover substantive legal topics as well as practical skills, and provide interns opportunities to discuss their client matters with other interns.

Boot Camp: No Clinic Hours are held the first week of classes. In lieu of clinic sessions, interns attend a “Boot Camp” on the first Friday of the semester from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the SBLC offices in downtown Portland (310 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 1018). Boot Camp provides the information and skills training necessary for interns to meet their first client as soon as possible. Attendance at Boot Camp is mandatory. Interns with a regularly scheduled Friday class which conflicts with the all-day Boot Camp should discuss the conflict with Clinical Professor Susan Felstiner.

Student Evaluations: Interns are evaluated on their attendance and performance during their weekly clinic sessions, class participation, and written assignments. Attendance at clinic sessions, Friday seminars, and Boot Camp is mandatory.

Application Process:

The SBLC patent program is by application only.

Required Materials:

• Cover Letter describing interest in the patent program,

• Transcript (unofficial transcript is fine), and

• Resume

Submit all materials in one portable document format (PDF) with your name in the title of the PDF. To assist us in determining potential client conflicts, the application materials should include, either in the cover letter or resume, all law related jobs and externships you have held and currently hold, and clinics in which you have enrolled.

Submit applications via email to: Prof. Felstiner at

Application deadline: Friday, April 6, 2018.

Number of Students Accepted: 2 per semester

Eligible to Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls

Selection Criteria: Interest in and commitment to patent law and taking the patent bar; year of study (Spring 2019 grads given priority); lack of conflicts of interest; ability to successfully complete course requirements.

Pre-Requisites/Co-Requisites: None, but we recommend that students take Patent Law and Policy and Patent Prosecution.

See the SBLC website for additional information about the SBLC.

If you have questions, please contact Prof. Felstiner at