Inventor Information

Chicago-Kent Patent Hub

Is the Patent Hub Right for Me?

If you are looking for Trademark assistance, see the link below for more information as the Patent Hub does not assist with Trademarks.

If you are looking for Patent Litigation assistance, unfortunately the Patent Hub is unable to assist with litigation matters. 

If you are unsure and want to identify which of your creative ideas might be intellectual property assets and how to protect them. We recommend first using the USPTO Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier, found here

If you have an idea (or identified an idea using the IP Identifier above) and need help in filing or prosecuting a patent application on an invention, please continue on to see if you are eligible for the Patent Hub.

Eligibility Guidelines

To qualify for services from the Chicago-Kent Patent Hub, an inventor must be Illinois-based and have a total household income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services. (For U.S. military veterans, the income limit is 500 percent.)

In addition, the inventor must demonstrate an understanding of the patent process and what can be done with a patent once it is received. This can be done through the showing of a USPTO-issued filing receipt for a provisional or non-provisional patent application or by successfully completing a USPTO training module found on the pro se/pro bono page of the USPTO website. A certificate of completion is available from that training module.

The inventor must also be able to describe his or her invention. This means not just having an idea for an invention but also being able to explain how someone else could construct the invention.

For inventions with multiple inventors, each inventor must satisfy the above requirements relating to being Illinois-based and having a total household income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Finally, an administrative fee of $100 must be submitted if an attorney match is made.

Small Businesses

In addition to the above requirements, if the applicant is a small business, it must:

  • have four or fewer inventors, where each inventor has total household income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines,
  • have had a total gross income of less than $150,000 in the preceding calendar year and
  • expect a total gross income of less than $150,000 in the current calendar year.

Payment of USPTO Fees

Accepted applicants will receive pro bono patent services from licensed patent agents or attorneys, but will be responsible for all United States Patent and Trademark Office filing, searching, examination and issuance fees. For example, the USPTO filing fees are around $480.00 for a small entity and the filing fees are around $240.00 for a micro entity. A full fee schedule and micro-entity status eligibility can be found on the USPTO website. Applicants will also be responsible for all maintenance fees if the patent issues.

Finally, Applicants will be responsible for any fees for drafting formal drawings if needed for their patent application, subject to Applicant approval. Formal drawings are required for Design Patent Applications and may be around $300-$500 depending on the type of invention.

If you are interested in applying to the program, please fill out the Application Form, linked below.

We ask that (if you are comfortable with sharing), that you answer the demographic questions on the form, as the answers do not affect acceptance into the program and go a long way in providing key statistics and support for the USPTO to continue to offer the program. 

Go to the Inventor Application Form


The Chicago-Kent Patent Hub does not provide legal advice, and its services are limited to screening applicants for eligibility and referring those applicants to volunteer attorneys for evaluation and possible representation.

Trademark Assistance

The Patent Hub does not provide Trademark assistance and is not affiliated with any of the organizations below. However, if you are in need of Trademark assistance they may be able to assist you or direct you to additional resources: 

  1. Law School Clinic Certification Program (providing pro bono assistance at participating schools)
  2. INTA has started a pilot trademark pro bono program and is accepting applicants
  3. Trademark Assistance Center (for resources)