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Law Courses Catalog

Small Business Legal Clinic Patent Program

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) patent program provides experiential legal training to upper division 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 nonprofit organizations interested in patenting their invention. Interns learn to conduct the initial client interview, counsel clients on the patent process, draft provisional and non-provisional 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, Credit/No Credit, one semester course with no final examination or paper requirement. Interns interested in earning their WIE during the course should consult the supervising patent attorney.

Interns must work on client matters eight hours a week and attend a weekly two-hour seminar. Interns may choose their own schedule of what days Monday through Friday, and what hours on those days between 9:00AM and 5:00PM, with the approval of the professor. The SBLC has two limitations: (1) the intern’s schedule must include at least two days per week, not one; and (2) the intern must commit to a consistent schedule for the semester. The SBLC has procedures to adjust an intern’s schedule as necessary.

The weekly seminar is 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 that 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, in either 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: Determined each semester

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 (graduating students 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