Coronavirus Information and Update: Fall 2021 Plans

December 01, 2020

Small Business Legal Clinic Expands Its Patent Program with Education and Patent Filings

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) has been working to educate entrepreneurs on patents to protect their unique products as well as filing patent applications for clients.

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) has been working to educate entrepreneurs on patents to protect their unique products as well as filing patent applications for clients.

Clinic student Nate Housel ’20 worked with the Oregon Native American Chamber of Commerce (ONACC) to produce a video that tells the story of a native entrepreneur who is working to obtain a design patent. The video gives an overview of what is required to obtain a design patent and discusses some of the pros and cons of obtaining such a patent.

A second video, produced by clinic student Michael Loy ’21, discusses the process an entrepreneur goes through to obtain a utility patent. The video discusses some of the requirements for a utility patent and gives tips on how to get the process started.

The Patent Program at the SBLC filed three patents this past spring, with four more patents being filed this fall. Since 2017 the Patent Program has provided clinic students the opportunity to get real-world experience in patent law while being supervised by an in-house patent attorney. “The patent program at SBLC gave me the opportunity to draft the patent application and claims and review my own writing under the light of legal doctrines and statutory requirements,” stated Farbod Khoshnevis ’20.

“It’s so exciting to speak with potential clients, learn about their needs, and help them bring their inventions to the next step, all while getting the chance to exercise our knowledge of patent law,” stated Jessica Ann Bernardini ’21.

This year the clinic welcomed back alumnus Dan Housley ’15 as an adjunct professor in the Patent Program. Housley is a patent attorney for IBM and brings his real world work experiences to the program. “Dan is a former SBLC student himself, so it is great to have him back in the clinic. He is able to give students an inside look at the role of an in-house patent attorney, which is invaluable to them,” stated Julieanna Elegant, Director of SBLC.

“The practical experience I gained while a student at the SBLC was key toward my success as a practicing attorney, and returning as the Patent Adjunct let me give something back to the community,” Housley stated. “We’re able to strengthen local businesses by providing critical legal work, while simultaneously training up students to continue providing those services. Everybody wins.”

“Working with a patent attorney, I learned and used different techniques in patent claim drafting, organizing specification, and how to think about drawings and prepare, reference, and organize them for submitting a patent claim,” stated Khoshnevis.

Since 2006, the Small Business Legal Clinic has provided business transactional legal services to low-income small and emerging businesses. The SBLC reduces legal barriers for individuals who have been historically disenfranchised, such as people of color, women and immigrants.