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Inventor Assistance Program Receiving Award

Inventor Assistance Program Receiving Award

Talk about perfect timing!

Just as NC LEAP’s Inventor Assistance Program expands this week into Tennessee, the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation receives word that this program is the winner of the 2015 NCBF/LexisNexis Partnerships for Success Award.

Beth Lynch, president of the National Conference of Bar Foundations, notified the NCBA Foundation last week that the NC LEAP Inventor Assistance Program will be recognized in July at the annual meeting of the NCBF in Chicago.

“The Awards Committee was unanimous in its selection of your program for the award,” Lynch said, “praising the quality of all the submissions for this year’s award. Congratulations again, and we look forward to seeing the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation honored at the annual meeting this summer.”

As the winner of the award, the NCBA Foundation will receive $1,500.

The Inventor Assistance Program is expanding into Tennessee through its partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). NC LEAP conducted its first regional launch event on Monday in Nashville and will hold a second launch event in Memphis on Wednesday.

NC LEAP, which stands for North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program, began as a project of the NCBA’s Business Law Section and later became a project of the Corporate Counsel Section as well. With the addition of the Inventor Assistance Program, NC LEAP now also receives support from the Intellectual Property Law Section.

The Inventor Assistance Program was launched in North Carolina on May 5, 2014, thereby expanding the scope of services provided under NC LEAP. The regional launch events in Nashville and Memphis are designed to educate potential clients, lawyers and community partners about this wonderful opportunity that grew out of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, better known as AIA.

The AIA encouraged the USPTO to “work with and support intellectual property law associations across the country in the establishment of pro bono programs designed to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses.” The nationwide pro bono program has been established as a result of the Obama Administration’s executive action for the USPTO to assist innovators by expanding the pro bono program.

Through this program, volunteer attorneys provide qualified clients with assistance in preparing and filing provisional and non-provisional patent applications at no charge. Clients maintain responsibility for filing, prosecution and maintenance fees. All applicants are required to complete a certificate training course offered by the USPTO that introduces the applicants to the general requirements for obtaining a patent and the length of time it can take to obtain a patent.