Intellectual Property (“IP”) Clinic

What we do

The NCCU Intellectual Property Legal Clinic (IP Clinic) at NCCU School of Law provides patent and trademark prosecution services to local entrepreneurs. Our IP Clinic is committed to supporting innovation & empowerment throughout our community. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has certified our IP Clinic allowing law students to represent clients before the USPTO.

The IP Clinic’s Patent Division provides solo inventors, businesses, and non-profits assistance in registering a patent before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The Trademark Division provides legal assistance and representation to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits in registering a trademark before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The scope of our prosecution services include: client counseling, availability searches and opinions, application preparation, application filing, and prosecution.

Clients are responsible for paying all administrative and filing fees.

Students

NCCU School of Law students can, under the supervision of licensed patent and trademark attorneys, work with individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, and entities with limited funds, who do not have the means to hire private representation.

Students who participate in the IP Clinic will work directly with clients and gain practical experience in problem-solving, client management, drafting, and critical thinking skills.

Upper-level law students are eligible to work in the IP Clinic upon successful completion of Professional Responsibility (or concurrent enrollment).

Law students wishing to participate in the Patent Division must have a qualifying undergraduate degree for U.S. Patent Office patent practice or have approval from the Clinic Supervising Attorney.

Potential Clients and Community Partners

Welcome to the NCCU IP Clinic!  Our clinic is certified by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to assist the public with patent and trademark preparation, filing, and prosecution.

If you are an up-and-coming entrepreneur, submit an application for services!

Other Information

Are you wondering which kind of IP protection may be right for you? Read the summaries below for some helpful information to guide you.

Patent Protection

Inventors pursue patents to protect a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Patent law does not offer protection for laws of nature, natural phenomena, abstract ideas, or humans.

For more information about Patents, please see: https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/general-information-concerning-patents and visit https://www.uspto.gov/patent.

Trademark Protection

A trademark identifies a single source of origin for goods or services by distinguishing the owner’s goods or services from those of others.

Entrepreneurs and businesses pursue federal trademark registration to acquire national rights in a mark and exclude others from using the same mark on similar goods or services.

For more information about Trademarks, please read this information booklet from the USPTO: Basic Facts About Trademarks -USPTO Booklet and visit https://www.uspto.gov/trademark.

Copyright Protection
** NCCU School of Law does not offer Copyright registration services in the IP Clinic.

A copyright is a property interest in a fixed original work of authorship which affords the owner the right to exclude others from copying, reproducing, distributing, publicly displaying or performing, and creating derivative works from her/his original work.

For more information about Copyrights, please read this article from the U.S. Copyright Office https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf and visit www.copyright.gov.

Contact Information

For general inquiries about the IP Clinic, please send us an email at ipclinic@nccu.edu.

Contact: Mimi Afshar, Director of NCCU IP Clinic, Supervising Patent Attorney
Phone: 919-530-6348
Email: mafshar@nccu.edu

Contact: Shelley B. Fullwood, Assistant Director of NCCU IP Clinic
Phone: 919-530-6734
Email: shelley.fullwood@nccu.edu

Contact: Devon White, Supervising Trademark Attorney
Phone: 919-530-7166
Email: trademarkclinic@nccu.edu