Patent Pro Bono Program

Patent Pro Bono Program of New England

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is invested in our creative community. With the passage of the America Invents Act, the United States Patent Office is working with regional patent pro bono programs to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. The VLA has partnered with the USPTO and the Boston Patent Law Association to provide pro bono legal assistance to eligible inventors in Massachusetts,Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Learn more about the USPTO’s Nationwide Pro Bono Program.

The Patent Pro Bono Program is open to individuals and small businesses in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and/or Vermont meeting the program’s income guidelines. The eligibility cap is an adjusted gross income (AGI) under 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. Applicants must demonstrate their financial eligibility by submitting tax documents or equivalent financial information. For an invention to be eligible, the applicant must be able to describe his invention. This means not simply having an idea for an invention, but rather, the inventor must be able to explain how someone could make the invention.

How to apply

  1. Complete and submit an application for each idea/invention for which you are seeking assistance: Application for Patent Assistance.
  2. Provide a copy of your most recent tax return showing your adjusted gross income.
  3. Please include the application fee of $55. You can also pay online by clicking here.
  4. Send all the above to Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Arts & Business Council, 15 Channel Center Street #103, Boston MA 02210

Applicants must also complete the USPTO’s Training Module and provide a certificate of completion.

Based on the information in your application, the VLA will send your matter to our panel of patent attorneys on our monthly case list. While the VLA will do its best to place matters in a timely manner and to refer every case, we may not be able to provide urgent assistance due to the nature of our volunteer panel and we cannot guarantee that we will find a lawyer to take every case.

If you have any inquires about the application process  or program please email

How to Volunteer
Attorneys in good standing in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and/or Vermont and licensed to practice before the USPTO are welcome and encouraged to join our panel of volunteer attorneys.  Please contact for more information.

This program is made possible in part by support from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.