02- Committee Report (2015 Annual Meeting)

Announcement Description

The Special Committee on Pro Bono met during the AIPLA Annual Meeting.  The principal objective of the meeting was to host a session of the AIA Pro Bono Advisory Council.  The Pro Bono Advisory Council was established with the support of the USPTO to support the establishment and growth of patent pro bono programs throughout the country.  AIPLA is an active member of the Pro Bono Advisory Council and is a signatory to its charter.  Five AIPLA Fellows – Greg Allen, Patrick Coyne, Nick Godici, Georgann Grunebach, and Jim Ruland – have served as advisors to the Pro Bono Advisory Council on governance, structure, and procedures. 

The principal speaker at the committee meeting was Jennifer McDowell, the USPTO’s outgoing Pro Bono Coordinator (a position established in 2014 as part of President Obama’s Executive Action on patent matters).  Jennifer reported that there were now eighteen regional programs covering all 50 states.  She also reported that, at the urging of the Pro Bono Advisory Council, a new nonprofit corporation was being formed to provide executive level guidance and assistance to the regional programs and the USPTO.  While the new non-profit may ultimately supplant the current Pro Bono Advisory Council, it was decided that the Council should remain intact for at least the next two years to allow the new nonprofit to get firmly established.  The Special Committee on Pro Bono will work with both bodies, and will place particular emphasis on assisting with educational activities.

John Kirkpatrick, the incoming USPTO Pro Bono Coordinator, also attended the meeting and was introduced to the committee members. He reported that the USPTO’s support for the patent pro bono program remained strong.  He also stated that the program was now being housed in the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), the same office that administers the Law School Clinic Certification Program.

The Special Committee on Pro Bono will not meet during the AIPLA Mid-Winter Institute, but it hopes to highlight some of the successful pro bono programs and successful inventors who came through the programs when it meets at the Spring Meeting.





Created at 12/1/2015 7:46 PM by Jay Erstling
Last modified at 12/1/2015 7:46 PM by Jay Erstling