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Inventor Assistance Program Expands Into Tennessee

Inventor Assistance Program Expands Into Tennessee

NC LEAP’s Inventor Assistance Program is expanding beyond the borders of North Carolina in a very big way, thanks to its partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Through that relationship the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation’s patent pro bono program assists qualified inventors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

NC LEAP will launch the expansion of its patent services into Tennessee in June, beginning with a regional launch event on June 1 in Nashville. A second regional launch event will be conducted in Memphis on June 3.

This is exciting news for what started as a project of the NCBA’s Business Law Section. NC LEAP, which stands for North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program, is believed to be the only program of its kind in the United States serving clients statewide. Since it began providing services to low-wealth entrepreneurs in 2007, NC LEAP has assisted more than 3,000 small business owners in our state through education and legal representation.

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.

The June 1 event in Nashville will be held from 3:30–5:30 p.m. The program begins at Arciplex, located at 533 Church Street, Suite 146, and concludes with a reception at 5 p.m. at Encore, located at 301 Demonbreun Street. RSVP by May 27 to Carole Oliver at the NCBA via email at coliver@ncbar.org.

The June 3 event in Memphis will take place from 3:30–5:30 p.m. at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, located at 20 South Dudley Street. Click here to register.

Patterson Intellectual Property Law of Nashville is a sponsor of the Nashville event while the Tennessee Bar Association is helping sponsor both programs.

For additional information, visit the NC LEAP website at www.ncleap.com. Questions should be directed to Ashley Randall, NCBA assistant director of public service & pro bono activities, via phone (919.659.1455) or email (arandall@ncbar.org).