Two pages of patent documentation showing some of the patent text and a diagram of the object the patent pertains to.
Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Law Clinic

The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at UConn School of Law provides students with the unique opportunity to counsel Connecticut's innovators on an extensive range of intellectual property (patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret) and related business law issues.

Since the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic opened its doors in January 2007, it has assisted (or is presently assisting) more than 250 clients, hailing from all eight counties in Connecticut and representing more than 85 different cities and towns. Under the guidance of supervising attorneys, the Clinic's students are involved in various aspects of client matters, including but not limited to, conducting interviews, performing legal research, drafting documents, and interacting with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office. The Clinic has advised clients regarding numerous legal issues, including patent searches and applications; trademark clearances and applications; copyright and trademark licensing; and nondisclosure, consulting, and employee agreements.

In July of 2008, the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic was one of only six law school clinics in the nation selected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to participate in a two-year pilot program under which law students are granted limited recognition to practice law (while under attorney supervision) before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This program has been extended and the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic continues its participation in the program.

The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic combines three of the finest traditions at UConn Law — its broad-based commitment to clinical education, its innovative approach to the study of intellectual property law, and its dedication to serving the people of Connecticut. The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic operates independently of other legal clinics associated with UConn School of Law.

IP Law Clinic students represent individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations in a broad range of intellectual property (patent, trademark, and copyright) and related business law issues. The clinical experience provides intensive training in both the relevant law and practical skills relevant to intellectual property law practice.

Students will spend three hours per week in class and approximately eight hours per week working on client matters. Class topics include the following general categories relating to intellectual property: basic lawyering skills and legal ethics, including client interaction; patent and trademark searching, application preparation and prosecution; IP litigation; trade secret; and copyright.

The Clinic's law students are involved in various aspects of client matters, including but not limited to, conducting interviews, legal research, and drafting documents. Under the guidance of supervising attorneys, they advise clients regarding numerous legal issues including patent, trademark and copyright clearances, searches, and applications; related contract drafting; nondisclosure and employee confidentiality agreements; and Connecticut limited liability company formation.

A scientific or engineering background may be helpful but is not required.

Patent Law (Law 7716) is a pre-requisite for students with science or technology backgrounds who will be doing patent work while enrolled in the clinic, but it may be taken as a co-requisite if the student has already completed Intellectual Property (LAW 7715).  For students who will not be doing patent work while enrolled in the clinic, either one of the following pre-requisites is sufficient: Intellectual Property (LAW 7715) or Trademark Law (LAW 7939). 

Faculty & Staff

Joseph A. DeGirolamo,  Director and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Robert S. Smith, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Supervising Attorney and Senior Legal Counsel
Bruce Jacoby, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney
Susan K. Pocchiari, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Patent Attorney
Kathleen E. Lombardi, Program Coordinator

Our clients are drawn from Connecticut's innovator-entrepreneurs who have basic intellectual property and related business law needs.

Client services currently available include, but are not limited to, patent searches, provisional/non-provisional patent applications, trademark clearances and registration applications, copyright and trade secret matters, drafting and negotiating intellectual property agreements, and Connecticut limited liability company formation if related to an intellectual property matter.

Although clinic services are free, clients are responsible for certain U.S. Patent & Trademark Office fees and other costs that may be necessary for the clinic to provide assistance, including, for example, the fees for filing a patent, trademark or copyright application, or the fees to register a Connecticut limited liability company, etc.

To be eligible to receive an application for the IP Law Clinic's program, you must: (1) have a presence in Connecticut, i.e. be a resident of Connecticut or have a business located in Connecticut; and (2) be seeking assistance with regard to the procurement or protection of intellectual property in the United States, e.g. a patent, trademark, copyright, or trade secret.

The IP Law Clinic does not handle international or foreign intellectual property matters and does not work on matters relating to any intellectual property proceedings before a tribunal, including but not limited to, appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Inter Partes Review proceedings, trademark oppositions or cancellation proceedings.

To learn more, you may contact the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic. Please be advised that by contacting the IP Law Clinic, there should be no expectation that the Clinic will form a relationship with you or accept you into the Clinic program.