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Small Business Legal Clinic

SBLC Patent Program Achieves Results

December 13, 2017

  • Institutional Stove Solutions works with people around the world to create cleaning and safer cooking methods. They received help from the SBLC Patent Program in 2017.

The Small Business Legal Clinic partnered with patent attorney, Joseph Makuch to offer a new patent program in 2017.  Interns with a background in science or technology spent a semester working in teams to help low-income small business owners with the patent process. Mr. Makuch volunteered numerous hours to make this dream a reality.

In its first year, the patent program filed four patent applications, counseled six clients and educated four law students. The clients were extremely pleased with the service provided by the clinic. Nick Moses of Institutional Stove Solutions commented; “The SBLC was a fantastic opportunity for us to secure a patent that would have otherwise been out of reach for us, as a small business. We were all impressed by the high quality, thorough work of Joe, Penny, and Gary, and are grateful to have had the chance to work with them.” A second client, Lisa Stewart from Beta Control Systems added, “The SBLC is better than we even envisioned!  We were so impressed by the interest, intelligence, and capability of the attorney and the student interns.  Our product that they were helping us patent is technical and incredibly boring.  They understood it better than our best customers understand our other products.” 

The student interns had an equally valuable experience. Penny Zhang stated, “The SBLC Patent Clinic helped me understand what patent prosecution work is about, and what skill set is needed to work in this field. It provides a realistic view of the daily work of a patent prosecution attorney. It is also a great “try-it-out” opportunity to find out whether one would enjoy it or not.” 

By the fall of 2017, the Small Business Legal Clinic was successfully admitted as a certified patent program for the USPTO. This allows a few clients to receive expedited processing for their patent and gives the students standing to speak directly with patent examiners in the USPTO. Lewis & Clark Lew School is the only certified USPTO pro-bono program in Oregon and has certification in both trademarks and patents.

The SBLC looks forward to continuing to provide this service in the future. New clients will begin work with the clinic in January 2018. We have limited spaces each semester, but interested clients can fill out the initial intake on the SBLC website.

Call Executive Director, Julieanna Elegant at 503-678-6947 if you have any questions