About Patent Pro Bono

About Us:
In December of 2014, GatewayVMS signed an agreement with the US Patent and Trademark Office providing assistance to administer a patent pro bono program for residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Our program formally launched on February 19, 2015, and is based out of St. Louis, Missouri.

Our mission is to support under-resourced and financially-constrained inventors at 300% of the Federal Poverty Line and below, seeking patent protection by providing pro bono legal assistance and access to entrepreneurial support services, including commercialization guidance.

Our ultimate goal is to increase access and connectivity to pro bono patent services and resources for under-resourced and financially-constrained inventors.

Please also click here to learn more about the USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program.

Our program launch was initiated by the US Patent and Trademark Office and is administered by Gateway Venture Mentoring Service , a St. Louis based 501(c)(3).



Section 32 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act provides that the USPTO director shall “work with and support intellectual property law associations…in the establishment of pro bono programs designed to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses.” In February 2014, President Barack Obama issued Executive Action 7 calling to increase the existing pro bono patent program to all 50 states by the end of 2014.

As a result, the USPTO has a mandate to establish pro bono patent programs in every state in the country by December 31, 2014. Such programs must be run out of 501(c)(3) organizations. St. Louis’s program and the greater five state region (Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska) will be overseen by the nonprofit Gateway Venture Mentoring Service.

Advisory Board:

Hayley Johnston, our GatewayVMS Program Manager, can be reached at:


USPTO documentation 

Are you an inventor or small business who has limited resources and needs help applying for a patent on an invention? If so, you may be eligible to receive pro bono (“for free”) attorney representation through the Nationwide Pro Bono Program.

Getting Started

Let’s face it: getting a patent is not cheap. Even though the fees the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges are relatively modest, the cost of hiring a patent attorney to properly write and prosecute a patent application is the main barrier to getting a patent for many inventors and small businesses. The USPTO knows this, and we want to help.

After the America Invents Act passed in 2011, the USPTO began working with intellectual property law associations across the country to help them establish pro bono inventor assistance programs in their specific regions.

These pro bono programs are intended to provide free legal services to qualified applicants.

Video and transcript courtesy of http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/proseprobono/

 Check your Eligibility