About the IP Venture Clinic

About the Clinic

The Intellectual Property Venture Clinic (IPVC) at Case Western Reserve University School of Law offers comprehensive trademark and patent prosecution assistance to individuals and businesses in Northeast Ohio. Our clinic is committed to fostering the next generation of intellectual property attorneys while also supporting intellectual property in the area.

In the IPVC, students engage directly with clients and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), working under the supervision of licensed patent and trademark attorneys. The USPTO has certified the IPVC under its Law School Clinic Certification Program, which gives our students limited recognition to practice before the USPTO. This also allows our clinic to designate a set number of applications for expedited examination under a Request to Make Special, in order to provide our students with more immediate feedback within the semester.  

This hands-on experience enables students to assist clients throughout every stage of the trademark and patent process. In particular, our clinic focuses on:

  • Client counseling and education: Consulting with clients to understand their unique intellectual property needs and assist with identification of intellectual property assets in line with the client’s business goals.
  • Searches and opinions: Conducting trademark availability and patentability searches utilizing USPTO databases. Based on these searches, our students provide opinions about the viability of trademarks or patents to aid clients in making filing decisions.
  • Application preparation and filing: Drafting all application components and formal filing documents and filing the same using the USPTO electronic filing systems.
  • Application prosecution: After filing, our students work with the USPTO to advance applications to registration or issuance. This includes responding to office actions, conducting examiner interviews, and other formal communication with the USPTO.

Who We Are

The Intellectual Property Venture Clinic is one of 10 clinics under the umbrella of the Milton and Charlotte Kramer Law Clinic and is taught by two practitioners, third-year law students certified as legal interns by the Supreme Court of Ohio, and Master in Patent Practice students. The IPVC also provides educational opportunities and ad hoc advice clinics at Sears think[box] on the sixth floor of the Richey-Mixon building, and in the engineering school.

Types of Technologies the IP Venture Clinic has Worked With

In addition to the very broad technological experience of our clinical faculty, the IPVC engages content experts from the legal and scientific communities wherever necessary, helping us maintain the ability to handle an extremely broad and diverse portfolio of potential technologies. 

The following is a small sampling of representative technologies we have worked with to date:

  • Life sciences—including diagnostic technologies, medical devices and "big data" healthcare analytics. Where necessary, we have engaged experts from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to provide insight and efficacy input.
  • Software and IT—including intelligent social media, advanced analytics and cloud-based data transformation.
  • Advanced energy—including renewable power generation, consumer and energy efficiency applications and "smart web" technologies.
  • Aerospace—including advanced propulsion and fuel efficiency technology.

In addition to scientific and technical content expertise, we routinely draw on a large network of community intellectual property professionals and corporate/government stakeholders to "deepen our bench" wherever needed.

Collaboration with University Technology Transfer

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) is a close collaborator and partner of the IPVC, but we do not act as counsel to the university in the commercialization of new technologies. Instead, we work as counsel to inventors (including student inventors) who believe they can commercialize technologies owned by the university. 

Partnerships with Regional Economic Development Institutions

Our intent is to partner wherever possible with community development organizations (including Jumpstart Entrepreneurial Network, Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio and others), early-stage investors (e.g., local angel groups and early stage funds), and service providers (e.g., local IP/venture law firms) so that the deals evaluated and created in the IPVC are well connected with and advanced by our network of potential partners and facilitators. The functional focus of the IPVC fills a void in the early-stage company landscape in Northeast Ohio, and we intend to partner with other members of this ecosystem to ensure successful company launches into the local economy wherever possible.

We also believe our local economy benefits from an ability to cultivate and retain high-value professionals in this field. Students of the program have opportunities to build valuable relationships in our business, investment and technology communities, entering into the local professional workforce with skills and experience that will greatly add to their marketability.

IPVC Members standing on stairs
Top row, L to R:  Wesley Taylor '24, Junwoo Shim '24, Dustin Read '24 Bottom Row, L to R:  Victoria Bonds '24, Mackenzie Clark '24, Professor Maria Ianiro, Christeena Sebastian '24, and Sarah Scott '24