The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has designated the Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s Center for Intellectual Property Research as the patent hub for the commonwealth of Kentucky, expanding the center’s previous designation as Indiana’s patent hub.
The U.S. PTO made the designation official late last year, the school announced Wednesday. As a patent hub, known as PatentConnect, the Center for Intellectual Property Research is tasked with matching entrepreneurs seeking pro bono patent services with patent attorneys who are available to offer those services.
“It’s a simple solution to an intractable dilemma,” Norm Hedges, IU Maurer clinical associate professor of law and PatentConnect leader, said in a statement. “Entrepreneurs often lack the funding to hire patent lawyers. But at the same time, without a patent position, entrepreneurs often can’t attract venture funding. Projects such as PatentConnect offer a practical solution.”
PatentConnect was established in 2015 as Indiana’s patent hub, IU Maurer said in its Wednesday announcement. Since that time, the program has led to more than 600 hours of pro bono services being offered for more than 50 patent cases.
The Center for Intellectual Property Research also operates an Intellectual Property Clinic, which is certified under the U.S. PTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Program. Fewer than 25 percent of US law schools have created similar clinics, the school said.
“Between the PatentConnect network and the Intellectual Property Clinic, we have established an infrastructure for pro bono patent work that rivals any in the country,” Center for Intellectual Property Research director and Robert A. Lucas Chair of Law Mark Janis said in a statement.