MINNEAPOLIS, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Fish & Richardson recently helped independent inventor Nick Musachio obtain the first patent to ever be issued under the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's (USPTO) America Invents Act (AIA) Pro Bono Program. The Pro Bono Program, which launched as a pilot program in Minnesota in June 2011, was created to help financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses bring their ideas and inventions to the marketplace.
Musachio received patent No. 8,157,712 for his "Kefty Kord" invention, which is a resistance exercise and physical therapy apparatus. His patent application had been languishing after initially being rejected by the USPTO. "I didn't have the time or funds to follow through with the patent examiner's suggestions on how I should amend my patent application," said Musachio. "Then I got connected with the Pro Bono Program, and in a few weeks I had my patent approved. It was a miracle."
The "miracle" was Fish attorney Chris Hoff who represented Nick through the firm's involvement with the program. Hoff facilitated a meeting with Musachio and the patent examiner, focusing on the Kefty Kord's distinguishing factor – a unique toe hold that allows the user to exert a tremendous amount of force on the band – and helped Musachio file the necessary amendments. One week later, the Patent Office indicated that Musachio's case would be allowed.
"Nick had a great invention. Through the AIA Pro Bono Program, we were able to overcome the hurdles independent inventors often face to get his patent approved quickly so he can bring his invention to market," said Hoff. "We were able to file claim amendments that gave him good coverage and that the examiner felt comfortable allowing. This expedited the process and prevented the often difficult and time consuming back and forth that can derail these types of patent applications for small inventors."
The AIA Pro Bono Program will eventually be expanded to cover the entire U.S. A second AIA Pro Bono Program launched in Denver, Colorado in June 2012. Four other programs – in northern and southern California, Texas, and Washington, D.C. – are slated to begin operation during 2012. A central nationwide clearinghouse, run by the Federal Circuit Bar Association, will handle the initial screening of all pro bono requests and placement of clients.
Fish & Richardson is a global law firm providing strategic counseling and litigation services to innovative clients who seek to protect and maximize the value of their intellectual property (IP). With more than 375 attorneys and technology specialists practicing IP strategy and counseling, IP litigation, and business litigation, Fish is known for its superior technical expertise. Fish has been named top patent litigation firm in the country for eight straight years, a premier IP firm for America's biggest companies, and an elite top tier law practice. For more information, visit www.fr.com or follow @fishrichardson on Twitter.
SOURCE Fish & Richardson