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Patent and Engineering Law Classes

With Professor Joe Barich

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The Patent Clinic has become the IP Clinic!

As of the Spring 2015 semester, the Patent Clinic has become the IP Clinic.  The IP Clinic includes both a Patent Track and a Trademark Track. 
The Patent Track is similar to the previous Patent Clinic that had been in operation since 2008 wherein students that have completed the prerequisite class in Patent Prosecution draft patent applications for student innovations that are referred to us by the College of Engineering's Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC). 
The Trademark Track began in the Spring 2015 semester and also offers law students the opportunity to work with student startup companies referred to us by the TEC.  In the Trademark Track, law students assist the startups by searching, analyzing, and advising them with regard to trademark selection and preparation of the trademark applications. There is no prerequisite for the Trademark Track, but Trademark Law is recommended.

Congratulations to Greenlight Planet on Raising $10MM in Financing!

The IP Clinic was very privileged to be able to work with Greenlight Planet in 2008.  It is wonderful to see their success in growing to a 700-employee company that has sold
over 3 million of their award-winning Sun King™ solar light and energy devices to off-grid homes in 30 countries.  They have all our wishes for continuing success!

Congratulations to BioAnalytics, Inc. on their Phase I SBIR Grant!

The IP Clinic was very privileged to be able to work with BioAnalytics in 2013 and 2015.  We congratulate them on having achieved a $150,000 Phase I SBIR Grant in 2015 and wish them continuing success!

Thank You To LenzenIP!

A hearty thank you to Nick Lenzen of LenzenIP for donating patent drawing drafting services for the patent applications drafted in the IP Clinic!

About the IP Clinic

The predecessor to the current IP Clinic was established at the University of Illinois College of Law in the spring of 2008 by Professor Barich in cooperation with the Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) at the University of Illinois College of Engineering.

The IP Clinic originally started as the Patent Pilot Program in 2008, gained the official status of the Patent Clinic in 2010, and then became the IP Clinic by expanding our services to include Trademarks as well as Patents in 2015.  The IP Clinic currently includes a Patent Track and a Trademark Track.

The prerequisite for law students to participate in the Patent Track is completion of Prof. Barich's Patent Prosecution class, where students learn the practical skills for drafting a patent application.  In Patent Prosecution, all students draft a patent application relating to a single new innovation conceived by Prof. Barich.  Conversely, in the IP Clinic, each law student has the opportunity to put their skills to practice by writing an individual patent application (under Prof. Barich's supervision) for an undergraduate or graduate student invention.  

There is no prerequisite for law students to participate in the Trademark Track,
but Trademark Law is recommended.  Practical trademark training is provided to law students in a series of lectures.

Each spring semester, the IP Clinic works with the College of Engineering's Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) to select new innovations for the Patent Track and new partner companies for the Trademark Track.  IP Clinic companies typically come from the Illinois Innovation Prize Competition and Cozad New Venture Competition.  In the Patent Track, from the dozens of innovations that are considered, one is selected for each law student and each law student writes a full patent application with regard to their chosen innovation.  The patent applications are then provided to the inventors - although the inventors must resolve their rights with the Office of Technology Management before filing the patent application. In the Trademark Track, each law student works with multiple companies that are typically selected from the Cozad New Venture Competition.

To date, the IP Clinic has drafted 42 patent applications and assisted 91 companies with trademark registration.  Thus, because a patent application typically costs about $10,000-$12,000 to have drafted and trademark assistance typically costs $1,000-$1,500, the IP Clinic has contributed around $510,000-$640,000 in services to the University community.

Each year and we look forward to an even more successful semester with even more law student and inventor/startup participation.

2017 Achievements

  • Trademark assistance and applications provided to 21 companies
  • Patent applications prepared for: 
    • An infant health detection system

2016 Achievements

  • Trademark assistance and applications provided to 40 companies
  • Patent applications prepared for: 
    • An electrochemcial biosensor
    • A computer manual input device
    • A posture detection and feedback system
    • A solar panel cooling system
    • A variable transmission system
  • Professor Barich's teaching of this course was ranked "Outstanding" (top 10% for the University) on the Spring 2016 List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent

2015 Achievements

  • Trademark assistance and applications provided to 30 companies
  • Patent applications prepared for: 

2014 Innovations

  • A personal hydration monitoring system
  • A faster, more efficient blood analysis device
  • A web application for fashion modeling an purchase

2013 Innovations

  • An automatic fire targeting and extinguishing system
  • A faster, more efficient blood analysis device
  • A heliostat system with multiple movable reflectors
  • An improved artwork search system
  • A stairlift housing and drive system

2012 Innovations

  • An attachment structure to allow a pre-installed mechanical stairlift to lock onto and lift a wheelchair
  • A flexible outlet adapter
  • A remote control door opening system for wheelchairs
  • An improved cap for a pill dispenser 
  • A product providing both solar and wind energy generation 
  • A spring system for assisting the elderly in moving from a seated to standing position 
  • A mobile application presenting bar and restaurant specials based on location and time of day

2011 Innovations

  • A simplified water meter for use in developing countries
  • An improved sensor array
  • An emergency alert system for use by the deaf
  • An online commerce website

2010 Innovations

  • Low-cost, single-use blood panels and affordable automated analysis devices that will provide diagnostic solutions for developing countries.
  • A screen impregnated with silver nanoparticles that keeps water fresh and enhances the shelf-life of milk at ambient temperatures for people in developing countries.
  • An apparatus that aids in decision making and learning using haptic qualities that allow the user to engage in the thinking process by permitting them to manipulate tactile components.
  • A no-VOC whiteboard paint that allows the user to paint any surface to then use it as a white board with standard dry erase markers.
  • A new type of display that can improve the brightness, grayscale/color depth, response and simplicity of display technologies.
  • A new wheelchair with a disc brake braking system and a hill assist function to help users travel uphill without rolling backwards.
  • A low-cost, multi-sensor, liquid level system that can easily be used in industrial settings as well as field deployments such as monitoring precipitation, sea levels, wave heights, and groundwater levels in wells. 
  • A fully-integrated, passive microfluidic logic device.

2009 Innovations

  • A video-related e-commerce system
  • An improved solar-based water purifier
  • A holography system
  • A roof-based hydroponic system
  • Improved materials for sporting equipment
  • An e-commerce site for fashion management
  • An internet security system

2008 Innovations

 Congratulations to Pat Walsh!
On having his innovation named as #5 on Discover Magazine's List of 10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change The World!

Pat's solar charged light product for use in impoverished rural India was one of the six innovations that we wrote a patent application for during the 2008 Patent Clinic.  Pat is currently marketing his product through his company Greenlight Planet.  We wish Pat continued tremendous success!

The other patent applications drafted in 2008 concerned:
  • Access assistance for quadriplegics
  • An identification system for cancerous cells
  • A lifesaving traffic safety device
  • A microfluidic analysis laboratory tool
  • A computer processing management system

Comments From Law Students Participating in the IP Clinic

  • I think this class was one of the most valuable and practical classes I have ever taken (in my 6 years of law school) [from an LLM student who completed an undergraduate degree in law outside the US]
  • I really enjoyed the class and feel I learned from it as well.
  • The IP clinic is definitely one of the best and most practical classes I have taken in the law school.
  • Professor Barich was interested in student learning and very accessible both in class and out of class
  • Appreciated sharing updates in law and regulations concerning patent prosecution.
  • Prof. Barich is a great asset for us.  I like the website  We appreciate all the time and effort he puts in.  It has improved my career prospects greatly.
  • I appreciate having real-world experience interacting with an inventor before entering patent practice.
  • Joe knows patent law inside-and-out, always willing to explain the law in-depth.  I gained great practical experience in patent law which prepared me even better for the outside world.
  • Good practical class to further develop skills in patent prosecution.  Learning how to proceed through the process with a real world inventor was very beneficial.
  • Major strength of the professor is his practical experience that he imparts to his students.  Working with the inventor and developing my own style in interacting with him and setting deadlines was very beneficial.
  • Thanks for your dedication to teaching patent prosecution at the COL. I feel I have a good foundation for my career thanks your classes. I want to leave you with some feedback that you can share with the administration or put on your website if you'd like.  The Patent Clinic is a great asset to the COL and the university at large.  The COL may never be the #1 law school in the country, or even Illinois, but I think it has the potential to have the best Patent Clinic in the country, if it doesn't already.  I hope the administration takes advantage of this great opportunity to further boost the COL's reputation.  For my part, I look forward to telling my superiors at my New York firm about the Patent Clinic at the COL. 
  • The clinic allowed me to develop my own style when interacting with an inventor.  I set deadlines, I conducted interviews, I followed up with emails.  Prof. Barich was there to provide guidance, but I felt primarily responsible; that was why it was such an outstanding learning experience.
  • I must say that the Patent Clinic was a lot of fun. It was fantastic interacting with my grateful inventor and meeting weekly in an informal setting with awesome people. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks a ton!
  • I'm sure all share these sentiments - you are a significant asset to the law program here at the U.  I look forward to hearing about the future development of the Patent Clinic. Thanks again. 
  • Just wanted to thank you for running this program. I enjoyed the experience.
  • Thanks again for providing us with such a great experience with the Patent Clinic and a great set of classes with both this and patent prosecution.
  • Thanks again for everything, Joe! The Patent Clinic was a great experience. 
  • Hey, also, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate everything you've done for us these last two years. I think it is really generous of you to spend so much of your time driving down to Champaign to invest in us. You truly are a tremendous asset to this school and its students and I hope that the administration here realizes this. In any case, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all that I've been able to learn from you. Thanks for everything.

Comments from Inventors/Companies Participating in the IP Clinic

  • [Law Student’s] performance was impeccable.  I would hire him if my startup was actually able to afford such things right now.
  • I had great interactions with [Law Student].  I have learned a lot about the process and strategy for the trademark.
  • [Law Student] was an outstanding help to our startup!  We could clearly see that he cared about our success.
  • The IP Clinic is an astounding resource for entrepreneurially-minded students to gain real-world legal experience and pursue valuable patents and trademarks.
  • [Law Student] was a pleasure to work with and was a great help.  He answered all of our questions and walked us through the trademark filing process step by step.  I would recommend his work and the clinic to anyone in Cozad in the future.
  • Great Service, would like to see IP Clinic expand to other services as well such as incorporation, legal advice, contract drafting, and more.  I hope to be able to work with IP Clinic in the future as well.  Thank you guys for the great service, I will definitely promote your services to others as well.
  • [Law Student] did great work and was very professional in her interactions.  She was a great resource!
  • This is an immensely useful resource for UofI startups and I can’t recommend it enough.  Thanks to the law student and processor.
  • [Law Student] was incredibly helpful during every phase of the IP Clinic trademark path process.  In addition to clearly explaining every step and caveat, [Law Student] was also very quick to answer questions.  He even set aside some time over spring break to discuss my trademark with me.
  • This was an amazing experience!  So glad I participated.  [Law Student] was brilliant!  I have no complaints at all!  Thank you!
  • [Law Student] was fantastic!  It was great working with him and I think we were lucky we were paired with him.  [Law Student] was smart, thoughtful, and very helpful.  If our business ever develops into what we hope it to be we would be lucky to be able to continue working with [Law Student].
  • I had a fantastic time working with [Law Student].  He was professional and explained all legal aspects of this process very clearly.  He provided valuable insights in terms of what the actual trademark strategy ought to be.
  • I think [Law Student] had demonstrated a great amount of help and guidance in terms of achieving a trademark for a company.  He was helpful in terms of explaining all the terminologies and different strategies/options I has with different trademarks along with risks associated with them.
  • The IP Clinic has provided an invaluable service and learning experience for our startup.  Our student, [Law Student], and Prof.  Barich were kind and helpful to our team and professional towards our company.  I was extremely impressed by the professionalism by with [Law Student] carried himself throughout our interactions.  [Law Student] and Prof. Barich demonstrated a sincere interest in our team and product by stopping by our demo booth at the Cozad New Venture Competition.  We have had an extremely positive interaction with the IP Clinic and would not hesitate to boast its services to all who will listen.
  • I really found the experience to be valuable: the whole trademarking and patenting process was intimidating, and would have been time consuming, had it not been for the IP Clinic.  I was able to focus more on fleshing out my project and company, and was given clear and sound advice for the trademark process.  Thank you!
  • Dear [Law Student], Thank you so much for your hard work on the patent application. We really appreciate all of the time and effort you have devoted to this project throughout the semester. Working with you has provided our team with so many great opportunities.
  • I would like to say thank you to both you and the students that made the clinic possible. It's hard to believe that there are amazing programs such as the patent clinic on campus. Without the program there is no way that a young student start-up, such as ours, could possibly have gotten together a patent application without the help of the patent clinic. Being able to say to investors that we have worked with your program and are intending to file a patent has been a tremendous asset recently, and will continue to be as we mature as a company.
  • I would also like to say that the quality of work produced by the law students was amazing and that the particular student that we worked with was very professional and knowledgeable. My partner and I were both blown away by the final product.
  • I've looked through the final patent application and am extremely happy with it!  [Law Student's] ability to organize my scatterbrained descriptions into a thorough and strong application has been remarkable. I very much appreciate his work and this Patent Clinic program in general -- this has been an invaluable service.
  • The patent application looks great! It has been a pleasure working with [Law Student] and indirectly working with you.  Thanks much for your time and I appreciate being granted this opportunity!
  • [Law Student] has done an absolutely outstanding job on this project
  • I wanted to thank you for the program and am satisfied/approve the patent application prepared by [Law Student].   [Law Student] has been extremely knowledgeable and I appreciate that you had me work with him.
  • I commend the level of detail and [Law Student's] ability to translate the complicated information I gave him into a cohesive document.  Thanks to both of you for your individual parts in this experience.
  • I will keep in touch and keep you posted with regard to my entrepreneurial effort.  It was a pleasure working with [Law Student] and you. Thanks for the opportunity.
  • woot!