Small Business Legal Clinic Update
Contracts for Service Provider Clients
Students worked closely with service provider clients, such as construction contractors and landscape maintenance businesses, learning their client’s business and crafting a contract that minimized and managed risk. Students also helped a gluten-free Mexican bakery and a culturally specific end-of-life care provider set up their businesses and work through their owners agreements, tackling issues such as how they will make decisions and what they want to happen if one of them leaves the business.
Patent Clinic: Going Strong for Five Years
The patent clinic celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and continues to offer excellent advice and work product. Not only do students prepare and draft patents, but they help clients strategize and determine what kind of intellectual property protection is best for them. They draft NDAs and licensing agreements, as well as perform prior art searches to help clients understand what obstacles might need to be navigated to obtain a patent.
In a patent clinic first, students submitted a successful petition to the technical director. The client had gone through the entire patent application examination process and paid all the necessary fees to have their patent issued, but due to a technical error, the clinic never received a vital communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the USPTO abandoned the application. Petitions are difficult to win, and they are notoriously difficult to put together within the pertinent time constraints. Students worked diligently to provide the required evidence to show the patent clinic had not received the communication; they argued succinctly, yet powerfully. The work was greeted with complete success, and it led to the issuance of the client’s patent.
Students also were asked to tackle trademark matters, learning to research the feasibility of trademark registration and, sometimes, the art of delivering bad news and helping clients find alternative ways to meet their goals.