As part of the White House patent initiatives the administration has directed the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provide direct assistance to inventors filing patents on their own – or what is known as “Pro Se” filing.
The USPTO has a longstanding policy of helping inventors by answering their questions by phone. (800-786-9199), at tradeshows, and USPTO sponsored forums.
Always quick to hand you a pamphlet of some kind – keep in mind they cannot answer questions concerning a particular patent application. They cannot give an opinion as to whether an invention is patentable – and they cannot provide legal advice, so I’m not sure what you would ask them.
They can’t do much more than tell you what time it is, but now they’re going to help you file a Pro-Se application for a patent?
USPTO Pro Se Assistance Program
Pre-filing Assistance for Pro Se Applicants
The USPTO has dedicated available to assist pro se applicants in preparing and filing their patent applications. This additional support will complements the assistance currently provided by the USPTO’s Office of Innovation Development, which assists independent inventors, small businesses, and university-affiliated inventors by providing tools, links to local assistance, education, a bi-monthly newsletter, and state-specific resources, as well as by conducting other outreach initiatives. Information for pro se applicants can be found at the Inventors Resources landing page.
Pro Se Examination Pilot
The USPTO will pilot establishing a team of patent examiners specifically trained and dedicated to examining pro se filed applications.
The Whitehouse directive to the USPTO was to help inventors file patents on their own. leveling the playing field a bit, and reducing the tug-of-war between those who can afford patents and those who can’t.
Sadly, the reality is the USPTO is bound by the government bureaucracy of fear, and it’s unlikely that this “help the inventor” effort will ever produce anything more meaningful than another USPTO News Letter.
Oh – and If you want to know what time it is …just contact the USPTO inventor assistance office http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/support-centers/inventors-assistance-center-iac