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Patents and Trademarks: Attorneys, Agents, Clinics

The Ryan-Matura Library is a United States Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademark Law & Searching Professionals

Scales of Justice

Who Can Help Me with My Trademark Search and Application?

Trademarks, and other intellectual property rights involve specialized legal procedures and can involve significant business operating investments.  The preparation of an application for a trademark and the conducting of the proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the trademark is an undertaking requiring the knowledge of patent law and rules and Office practice and procedures, as well as knowledge of the scientific or technical matters involved in the particular invention.

We strongly recommend that final research, business planning, and applications regarding intellectual property be done in consultation with proper intellectual property legal professionals.

Our library services are designed to support the individual or corporate/legal researcher's efforts to conduct self-directed and preliminary research. Library staff cannot offer legal advice, conduct searches, assist in writing applications, guarantee completeness of searches, or advise on ideas. 

Depending on your finances, trademark knowledge, available time, and access to patent research tools, you can represent yourself ("pro se") or work with someone: Trademark Attorney ♦ Searcher ♦ Legal Clinic Student Attorney ♦ Pro Bono Attorney

Pro Bono IP Legal Assistance

Law School Clinic Program

The Law School Clinic Certification program allows law students enrolled in a participating law school's clinic program to practice Intellectual Property Law before the USPTO under the strict guidance of a Law School Faculty Clinic Supervisor. The program currently consists of students practicing in both patent and trademark law before the USPTO. The program is administered by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline. The Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline grants the law students limited recognition to practice before the Office.

Students gain experience drafting and filing either patent applications or trademark applications for clients of the law school clinic. Further, as they are authorized to practice before the USPTO, they gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with either patent examiners or trademark examining attorneys for the applications they have filed.

Law schools participating in the USPTO's law school clinic program provide their services on a pro-bono basis to those that qualify.  Each school has its own criteria for accepting clients.  Please contact the school to inquire about becoming a client.

  • Connecticut:

University of Connecticut School of Law (patents and trademarks): iplawclinic@uconn.edu

Pro Bono Patent Representation

The Pro Bono Program is an outcome of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) which 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."

  • VLANY Patent Pro Bono Program - this non-profit organization based in New York City included patent attorneys who voluntarily contribute legal services for independent inventors in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

The program’s main goal is to provide application drafting services for those innovators who believe they have a novel invention but have not yet filed for a patent. Additionally, those who have filed for provisional applications or have filed a non-provisional application but have not yet received an office action may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.

If you are seeking representation for your invention and believe that you qualify for services, please contact the Art Law Line at 212-319-2787 ext. 1.

If you have specific questions or inquiries, please send your inquiries to patents@vlany.org.

Trademark Attorneys

While an applicant can file his or her own trademark application, attorneys (not associated with the USPTO) who are familiar with trademark matters represent most applicants. Some trademark owners may have valid and protected trademark rights that do not result from federal registration with the USPTO, and those marks may not appear in the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database. Before ever filing a trademark application, a trademark attorney can conduct a more comprehensive search for potential problems with your use of a proposed mark than you will be able to conduct in TESS. The attorney then can counsel you regarding use of the mark, recommend whether to file a trademark application, and advise you on your likelihood of success in the registration process.

The filing of a trademark application begins a legal proceeding having many legal requirements and strict time deadlines. Not all applied-for trademarks register, and filing fees are not refunded. Whether you ultimately proceed on your own behalf or a trademark attorney represents you, all substantive and procedural requirements of the Trademark Act and Trademark Rules of Procedure must be met. Should you wish to consult an attorney, you can find the names of attorneys who handle trademark matters in telephone listings or by using the attorney referral service of a state bar or local bar association (see American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Directory(link is external))

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Resources

Scams and Complaints

Some individuals and organizations that are not registered advertise their services in the fields of patent searching and invention marketing and development. Such individuals and organizations cannot represent inventors before the USPTO. They are not subject to USPTO discipline, but the USPTO does provide a public forum where complaints and responses concerning invention promoters/promotion firms are published.