Greetings PA Patent Volunteers!  

Thank you for your continued dedication and support of Pennsylvania’s innovation economy through Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts’ PA Patent program, launched in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2015. 

Please see below for some initial information regarding client eligibility and project scope for our pro bono patent projects as well as a list of current available pro bono matters. If you are interested in taking on a pro bono patent assignment, please contact one of our Legal Services Coordinators at [email protected] to obtain further information. If you have any questions about expectations surrounding consultation or representation of a PA Patent pro bono client, please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director, Ryan Morris, at [email protected].

NOTE: attorneys should be sure to submit a volunteer application before signing on to take a pro bono case with PVLA.

Eligibility Requirements

For all PA Patent pro bono cases, clients are required to verify that they possess more than a mere “idea” and have developed a completed concept of their invention prior to being matched with an attorney. This is typically demonstrated by providing either a proof of concept (i.e. technical schematics/specifications, CAD drawings) or a reduction to practice (i.e. a working prototype). Clients are also required to complete a preliminary prior art search for products or inventions that closely resemble their own, as well as a USPTO training course outlining the steps involved in the patenting process. Additionally, clients are required to confirm that they possess some goal for the commercialization or monetization of their invention – whether that be independently through a start-up company or small business model, or through licensing efforts with larger manufacturers, distributors and retailers. 

Scope of Work

Due to the fact that PVLA does not currently have any patent attorneys on our board or staff, each PA Patent pro bono client must first be assigned a one-time consultation with a volunteer patent attorney to determine and discuss the patentability of the client’s proposed invention in light of the relevant prior art, as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding the development of the client’s invention. If the attorney determines that the client’s invention is not likely to be patentable for any reason, the project will conclude following completion of this initial consultation.

Assuming the invention is deemed to be patentable, the attorney will be given the option to either:

  1. Assist the client in preparing, filing and prosecuting a patent application before the USPTO on a pro bono basis (preferred); OR
  2. Direct the client back to PVLA for placement with another patent attorney volunteer for continued pro bono representation as needed.    

Attorneys who volunteer to undertake pro bono service beyond the initial patentability consultation will only be requested to provide representation and assistance up until the issuance of either an approved patent or a final rejection from the USPTO examiner. Furthermore, all PA Patent pro bono clients are responsible for paying any necessary third-party fees or costs associated with the representation, including USPTO filing fees (micro-entity rate) and/or fees related to procuring the services of a draftsman. 

Case List – Patentability Consultations

  • Project 26339: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a mechanical device used to rewrap cigars.
  • Project 26517: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a motion-activated children’s toy mirror that offers users positive affirmations through pre-recorded quotes, songs and stories. 
  • Project 26776: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a magnetic athletic-wear hooded sweatshirt designed for individuals practicing various styles of yoga. 
  • Project 26780: Client is an independent inventor seeking a one-time consultation with an attorney to discuss the patentability of his idea for a new traffic light design. 
  • Project 26885: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a miniature insulated food container or thermos to be used for baby food.
  • Project 26906: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for furniture that features elements intended to hold various electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets.
  • Project 26913: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a sanitary handle cover used for shopping carts, door handles and other similar surfaces.
  • Project 26964: Client is a small startup company seeking a one-time patentability review and consultation regarding their invention for a mobile health and wellness app for senior citizens living on their own.
  • Project 26974: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a centralized database for the storage and retrieval of individual employment history and information. Client has issued a proposal to the Social Security Administration regarding the possibility of licensing this database for SSA’s use if/when a patent is obtained.
  • Project 27024: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a new method of conducting lottery games.
  • Project 27071: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a fitness garment worn around the waist designed to increase calorie burn and weight loss in the stomach area during workouts.
  • Project 27078: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a device designed to relieve tension around the ears and face from wearing face masks.
  • Project 27102: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a utility clasp used to secure/fasten jewelry, watches and/or handbags.
  • Project 27154: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a collapsable, folding footstool disguised to look like an ordinary, mundane object when folded such as a book or a briefcase. Client has already filed a provisional patent application on the invention (priority date 10/12/2020), and is seeking to file a non-provisional application if appropriate prior to the expiration of his provisional patent. 
  • Project 27157: Client is an independent inventor with extensive experience working in the shipping and trucking industry seeking to patent a design for a refillable jug allowing for the safe and clean storage/transfer of diesel exhaust fluid.
  • Project 27194:  Client is an independent inventor seeking a patent on the design for a roll of magnetized, reusable towels.
  • Project 27264: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for an energy-saving electric rice/pressure cooker.
  • Project 27307: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a portable, battery-powered air conditioning unit.
  • Project 27322: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a method of treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. Client has conducted studies on her method with the assistance of researchers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
  • Project 27372: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a sanitary pad for young girls that features a “leak indicator” informing the user when it is time to change pads.
  • Project 27406: Client is an independent inventor who has filed a provisional patent application for a system of detecting leaks in oil transport pipes and thereby and prevent environmental damage.
  • Project 27411: Client is an independent inventor seeking advice on the patentability of a system to neutralize airborne viruses using a fan and UV lights.
  • Project 27427: Client, a disabled combat veteran, seeks advice on the patentability of his build your own pipe system and method for the vaporization of medical marijuana intended to assist indigent patients.  

Case List – Patent Prosecution

  • Project 27018: Client is an independent inventor seeking assistance in continuing prosecution of her patent application for a consumer audio social media app. Client seeks to revive her patent application and respond to anticipated Office Actions.
  • Project 27168: Client is an independent inventor seeking to patent a design for a drawstring mesh underskirt to be worn beneath a wedding gown that can be used to contain the skirt and train of the gown for increased mobility and to aid brides in using the restroom. Client, who has been featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” previously filed a non-provisional patent application in 2016 which has since been deemed abandoned. Client is seeking an attorney to assist her in reviving her 2016 patent application and to represent her in continuing the prosecution of her application until a final determination is rendered by the examiner. 
  • Project 27418: Client is an individual inventor who has filed a provisional, utility patent application for a contactless automobile document holder system which is intended to foster pull-overs that are safer for both drivers and law enforcement officers. She is seeking legal advice with respect to developing her provisional application into a full patent application.