One of the consistent challenges faced by club members is to gather the resources to file an application for a US patent. Members are often constrained by finances or confusion about how to find legal assistance. In order to help independent inventors who struggle to find the necessary resources for filing, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) started a pilot program called the Pro Se Assistance Program. The USPTO website describes the program thusly:
The Pro Se Assistance Program is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s comprehensive pilot to expand outreach to inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a registered patent attorney or agent (also known as “pro se” filing).
The Pro Se Assistance Program is a great opportunity for an independent inventor to get help. It extends beyond the typical DIY approach and provides access to USPTO expertise. It is something to consider when evaluating whether or not to file an application for a patent.
Here is a short video from the USPTO that outlines the roadmap for the Pro Se Assistance Program:
The club also provides a set of resources designed to help the independent inventor through the innovation process. Just go to the toolkit on this website. The toolkit provides links to internal and external resources such as videos, contact information, and worksheets.
Good luck and happy inventing!