Center for Advanced Study and Research on Innovation Policy Washington Pro Bono Patent Network

Information for Inventors

The Washington Pro Bono Patent Network matches qualified low-income inventors in Washington state with experienced patent attorneys. Attorneys assist inventors in preparing and filing provisional and non-provisional patent applications. Attorney services are provided at no cost to the inventor. However, the inventor remains responsible for paying the patent filing fees and any other U.S. Patent & Trademark Office fees associated with the application.

Please be advised that the attorney matching process can take up to three months, and that a match is not guaranteed. In the event that we are unable to match an inventor with an attorney within three months of receipt of the completed Inventor Application Form, we will contact the inventor.

How to Apply

To apply for pro bono legal assistance through the Washington Pro Bono Patent Network, please review the eligibility requirements below. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, please complete the application form (see the Client Application section below) and email the completed form to wapatent@uw.edu.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive services through the Washington Pro Bono Patent Network, you must:

  1. Reside in Washington state.
  2. Have a total combined gross household income of less than or equal to 300% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (see table below). In addition to income, we also consider other assets, such as savings, stock holdings, and home equity, when determining financial eligibility. 
  3. Complete the USPTO’s online Basic Patent Training Certification Course (English) or the Basic Patent Training Certification Course (versión en español). Your Certificate of Completion is required with your application to the Washington Pro Bono Patent Network.
  4. Be prepared to pay the cost of any filing fees or other USPTO fees associated with your patent application.
  5. Pay a non-refundable $50 application fee at the time of application.
  6. Have an actual invention, not just an idea. Your invention is more than just an idea if one or more of the following is true:
    1. You have a prototype of your invention.
    2. You have a detailed drawing of the invention describing how it works.
    3. You are able to describe your invention so that someone else could actually make it and use it.

The Washington Pro Bono Patent Network reserves the right to reject applications for any reason.  Reasons you may be disqualified or ineligible:

  • Harassment of staff
  • Incomprehensible application
  • Failure to abide the rules

Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2021

Please note that the guideline is adjusted based on the number of people in your household. You must submit your most recent tax return as proof of income.

Persons in Household Poverty Level 300% Poverty
1 $12,880 $38,640
2 $17,420 $52,260
3 $21,960 $65,880
4 $26,500 $79,500
5 $31,040 $93,140
6 $35,580 $106,740
7 $40,120 $120,360
8 $44,600 $133,800

Client Application

If you meet all of the above requirements and are interested in being matched with a volunteer patent attorney, please fill out the WA Pro Bono Network Inventor Application Form. You can then print the application for your records and either email a PDF of your application to wapatent@uw.edu or mail a hard copy to:

Washington Pro Bono Patent Network
University of Washington School of Law
William H. Gates Hall | Box 353020
Seattle, Washington 98195-3020

Please attached your Certificate of Completion of the USPTO’s online Basic Patent Training and most recent tax return with Social Security Number obscured. Please note that a $50 application fee must be submitted along with the application.

If you have a co-inventor (i.e., another person who collaborated with you to create the invention), the co-inventor will need to submit the Co-Inventor Application. All co-inventors are required to submit similar information, including the Certificate of Completion of the USPTO Basic Patent Training and their tax return to ensure financial eligibility. After your application and the co-inventor's application are received, we will process your request.

This pro bono assistance means only that legal fees will be waived by an attorney agreeing to work on your matter. There may be other fees and costs associated with your matter that you will be responsible for paying, such as patent filing fees, prior art search fees, drawing fees, extension fees, etc. The attorney helping you will not be able to pay these fees on your behalf.