Information for Inventors

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) is a tribunal within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) that reviews rejections made by patent examiners.  If a patent examiner twice rejects or issues a final rejection in a patent application, then the applicant can seek review of the rejection by a panel of three technically and legally trained administrative patent judges.  In proceedings called ex parte appeals, the PTAB will review the correctness of the patent examiner’s rejection.  

The PTAB Bar Association matches qualified financially under-resourced inventors with experienced patent practitioners to represent them before the PTAB.  In this Program, patent practitioners will assist inventors in preparing, filing, and arguing ex parte appeals before the PTAB.  Patent practitioner services are provided at no cost to the inventor.  However, the inventor remains responsible for paying any government required fees associated with the appeal.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive pro bono services through the PTAB Pro Bono Program, an inventor must meet the following eligibility criteria:
  1. Be domiciled in the United States of America.
  2. Not otherwise be represented by a patent practitioner for the PTAB proceeding.
  3. Have a total combined gross household income of less than or equal to 3 times the Federal Poverty Guideline. (Click here to view more info). 
  4. Certify Micro Entity status.
  5. Certify completion of the USPTO's online Ex Parte Appeal Training Certification Course.
  6. Be prepared to pay the cost of any appeal processing fees or other fees associated with your appeal.
  7. Apply to the program within 1 month from the date of the last Office action in which the claims have been finally or twice rejected.
Upon acceptance into the program, the PTAB Bar Association will attempt to match an inventor with a volunteer patent practitioner.  A match is not guaranteed.  In the event that the PTAB Pro Bono Program is unable to match you with a patent practitioner within one month of acceptance into the Program, you will be contacted to inform you that the PTAB Bar Association was unable to place you with a patent practitioner.

The PTAB Bar Association reserves the right to reject applications for any reason, for example:

Federal Poverty Guideline for 2021

The PTAB Pro Bono Program uses the Federal Poverty Guideline as the basis for determining financial eligibility to receive pro bono services.  The Guideline is adjusted based on the number of people in your household. For the most accurate numbers, please check here.   

How to Apply

To apply to the PTAB Pro Bono Program, please fill out the application form here.

For questions about applying to receive pro bono services under the PTAB Pro Bono Program, please contact: