Student Eligibility and Requirements

The Patent Clinic provides legal assistance in patent matters. Students who participate in the Patent Clinic will have the opportunity to directly assist clients with patent protection for a patentable invention. Students will be supervised by a licensed patent attorney, but students will have primary responsibility for all related client matters.

Students enrolled in the Patent Clinic are required to participate in a mandatory clinical seminar that focuses on the lawyering skills necessary to effectively represent clients. In addition to discussing client interviewing and counseling, students will also focus on the substantive and administrative areas of patent practice relevant to the legal matters being handled, including issues of professional responsibility.

Patent Clinic and Student’s Academic Program

  • Participation in the Patent Clinic satisfies the Professional Skills graduation requirement.
  • Students who participate in the spring or fall semester are eligible for a minimum of 1 unit of credit. Each unit of credit corresponds to 42.5 hours per semester.
  • One hour per week is dedicated to an in-take activity which is counted toward the clinic hours.
  • Work within the clinic space is required and students are expected to be available to meet with clients during their designated clinic hours.
  • The mandatory clinical seminar consists of a 2-hour weekly lecture which is counted toward the clinic hours.

Requirements for Participation

  • Successful completion of Civil Procedure I;
  • Concurrent enrollment or completion of Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Civil Procedure II is also required.
  • A qualifying scientific or technical undergraduate degree, as defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Please see Section III of the USPTO’s General Requirements Bulletin for additional detail on this requirement.  NOTE: Students are not required to take and pass the USPTO registration examination (patent bar examination), but must be qualified for the exam as described in the Bulletin.  Students without a qualifying scientific or technical undergraduate degree are encouraged to apply.  These students may participate in the Patent Clinic; however, they are not granted limited practitioner numbers. Accordingly, these students are not able to correspond with the USPTO or represent the Patent Clinic clients.

North Carolina Certified Law Student

  • To become a North Carolina certified law student, students must have satisfactorily completed the equivalent of 3 semesters of the requirements for a professional degree in law (J.D. or its equivalent) and be in good standing.
  • Once admitted into the Patent Clinic, students will apply to become a North Carolina certified law student.
  • To learn more about becoming a North Carolina certified law student, visit the North Carolina bar website.
    Please do not begin filling out an application to become North Carolina certified until you are formally enrolled in the Patent Clinic.

Application Process

  • Send the following to
    • a statement of interest addressed to Professor Mimi Afshar, Patent Clinic Supervising Attorney;
    • a resume;
    • an unofficial NCCU transcript, and
    • an unofficial undergraduate transcript.
      • The statement of interest should describe the reasons for participating in the Patent Clinic, and should highlight any past experiences or future plans to work in the field of patent law.

Applicants may be interviewed by the clinic supervising attorney before admission into the clinic.