May 18, 2022

Pilot Projects: UMass Amherst Libraries Beginning New USPTO Virtual Assistance Program at Patent and Trademark Resource Center

From UMass Amherst Libraries:

The UMass Amherst Libraries announce the new United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Virtual Assistance Pilot Program beginning on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, at the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) located in the Science & Engineering Library, Lederle Lowrise, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The USPTO recommends using a registered attorney or agent to assist in preparing and prosecuting a patent application; however, they also recognize that the cost of such assistance is prohibitive for many applicants, particularly independent inventors and small business concerns. The new Virtual Assistance Pilot Program will provide greater availability to those needing assistance with the patent process.

Pro Se inventors (those who file patent applications without the assistance of a registered patent attorney or agent) will be able to come to the PTRC to meet with a USPTO patent examiner via a WebEx connection. PTRCs are a nationwide network of public, state and academic libraries that are authorized by the USPTO to disseminate patent and trademark information and support diverse intellectual property needs of the public.

This new service is free and open to all Pro Se inventors willing to travel to the UMass Amherst PTRC. I

nventors must make an advance appointment by emailing Paulina Borrego at

Appointments can be scheduled from10am-12pm and 1-3pm every Tuesday through Thursday. The examiner, who will be specifically matched to each inventor’s needs, will provide assistance with the patent application process but cannot dispense legal advice or make patentability determinations prior to an application being filed.

NOTE: A Virtual Assistance Pilot Program is also beginning at the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.



About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.