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Patents and Trademarks : For Community Inventors/Entrepreneurs

A guide to information on patents and trademarks, patent searching, inventor resources and UW intellectual property resources.

Get Patent Help!

Steenbock Library is a USPTO Patent & Trademark Resource Center. Read about our Patents & Trademark services.

For questions or to set up an appointment, email or call (608) 262-3007.

Legal and Business Advice

Search the list of patent attorneys and agents licensed to practice patent law before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The UW Law School Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic provides free legal services for some Wisconsin entrepreneurs and small business owners. This clinic is a partnership with the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery and WARF. Read about eligibility and apply here.

The Inventor Assistance Program at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law (St. Paul, MN) provides free legal representation to low-income inventors seeking to patent their inventions with the USPTO. A joint project with the USPTO with the support of LegalCORPS, this option is open to inventors in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. For similar assistance to inventors in other states, check out the USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program.

The USPTO Pro Se Assistance Program provides free assistance to inventors who choose to file provisional and non-provisional patent applications 'pro se' (without the help of a licensed patent agent or attorney). This program does not provide legal assistance, but can help with questions on application procedures and forms.

If you have an invention with a strong social mission or that is associated with a non-profit, you may be eligible for funding opportunities explained on the Candid Learning Knowledge base

The International Trademark Association Pro Bono Clearinghouse offers free legal assistance on trademark matters to eligible clients, including "low-income individuals, small- to medium-enterprises, and not-for-profit, and nonprofit or charitable organizations with low operating budgets that might not otherwise have affordable access to legal assistance".

Patent & Trademark Books on Campus

Inventor Resources

InventorsEye  - USPTO's bimonthly publication for the independent inventor community. Sign up for a free subscription to this newsletter and more from the USPTO.

USPTO Inventor Resources

Inventor’s Digest Online

National Inventor Fraud Center

Entrepreneurial Resources

Basic Patent Training for Independent Inventors - a USPTO online tutorial

UW Madison Small Business Development Center Start Up programs - seminars, one-on-one business counseling. Watch - example of SBDC service 

WWBIC - resources, business assistance, and financial education for business owners and entrepreneurs, with a focus on women, people of color, veterans, and low-income individuals

Wisconsin Innovation Service Center- at UW-Whitewater, new product assessment and market feasibility 

Small Business Association, Wisconsin District Office - small business planning help, resources, online training

SBA Community Blogs

Center for Technology Commercialization - statewide network of entrepreneurial resources: business assistance, training, financing opportunities, and a network of over 100 organizations

Doyenne - Madison-based non-profit featuring programming, coaching, and funding for women entrepreneurs

StartingBlock - co-working space and other resources for Madison-area entrepreneurs, including Madworks and Level Set accelerators and 1 Million Cups and HER Network meetings

SCORE Madison - free mentoring and education for startups and new entrepreneurs

For Veterans

Small Business Association Resources for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Other Useful Sources of Information