The patent office realizes that many inventors and small businesses cannot afford to hire a patent attorney or agent to represent them and have provides several programs and resources for these "pro se" inventors. The term "pro se" means that you are representing yourself before the patent office instead of having an attorney or agent help you. Here is a list of some free patent help resources that we have found (we will keep updating this as we find more sources).
Source 1 - The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Pro Se Inventor Help Center
The USPTO website is huge and filled with too much information. This part of their website should be your first introduction to the patent office:
Contact the Pro Se Assistance Program
For general inquiries, questions about your application, or other pro se matters, the Pro Se Assistance Program can be contacted in a variety of ways:
phone number: 1-866-767-3848
(Hint: If you don't mind traveling you can make an in-person meeting with the Pro Se counselors at the patent office located outside of Washington DC)
Source 2 - Law Schools
Source 3 - State Bar Pro Bono
Source 4 - Online forums and websites
President - PatentFile, LLCBrad Fach has 18 years of experience writing and filing patent applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office. He has personally filed over 500 patents in all technical areas ranging from consumer products to software and biotechnology. Read more....
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