Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, next to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at the Inauguration Ceremony of City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (D-35)

A new bill sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) passed on Monday that will help small businesses and startups with patent and trademark matters.

The bipartisan bill, H.R. 5108, also will benefit students, law schools and the innovation and tech community by partnering law student practitioners with inventors, small businesses and startups seeking free legal assistance on patent and trademark matters.

Currently, the program exists as a pilot at the U.S. Patent and Trademark (PTO) office, with 45 participating law schools in parts of 24 states.

This legislation will expand the program nationally and allow law students throughout the country to practice patent and trademark law under the close supervision of a faculty supervisor. Students will have opportunities otherwise unavailable to them, such as drafting and filing patent and trademark applications, and advising businesses on the appropriate response to a rejected patent application.

“This is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Jeffries. “Our legislation will spur innovation and help small businesses, startups, inventors and entrepreneurs who otherwise may not be able to afford legal assistance, while providing real-world experience for law students in the highly-specialized areas of patent and trademark law.”

The bill is supported by key stakeholders in the education and innovation fields, including the Association of American Universities and International Trademark Association.

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