Policy and Advocacy
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Policy and Advocacy
Pro Bono Clearinghouse

Pro Bono Clearinghouse


Through its Pro Bono Committee, INTA has established the Trademark Clearinghouse pilot program to bolster the protection of intellectual property by matching eligible clients facing trademark issues with INTA member attorneys so that legal services can be provided free of charge. The Clearinghouse is intended to serve low-income individuals and/or directors of nonprofit or charitable organizations with low operating budgets (1) who might otherwise not know where to turn or (2) who don’t have access to legal assistance in the area of trademarks. This clearinghouse is the only one currently in existence that is dedicated primarily to trademarks.

One of INTA’s core beliefs is that all consumers and businesses benefit when trademark rights are protected in a meaningful and consistent manner. The Clearinghouse allows INTA and its members to fulfill a commitment to the public interest in their field of expertise. Members who choose to be matched with clients will have a unique opportunity to stretch their skills and aid clients in need through meaningful work that benefits the business and legal communities that are invested in trademark rights.

The Clearinghouse is currently running as a pilot program and is limited to trademark issues in the United States. The Association’s ultimate goal is to roll out a large-scale clearinghouse open to all eligible INTA members and pro bono clients worldwide.

Getting Started

For Potential Clients: Please click here to access an intake form on which you will describe your trademark issue and provide information and documents relevant to your eligibility to be matched with an attorney for pro bono services. After you click on the above link, you will be asked to create an account with us, and then you will be taken to the intake form to make your application for pro bono assistance.

A member of the INTA Pro Bono Committee will contact you within two to three business days following your submission of the intake form to discuss with you whether you meet the eligibility requirements and whether the Clearinghouse has been able to identify a potential INTA volunteer attorney with whom you may be matched. Note, however that this time period may be extended depending on volume and volunteer availability. The INTA Pro Bono Committee will then contact you for an interview, and will subsequently make a final determination as to your eligibility and, if applicable, match you with a volunteer attorney. If you and the attorney wish to proceed with the representation, the attorney will complete a conflict check to confirm that he/she is able to represent you in connection with your particular matter. If he/she is able to represent you, the attorney will establish an attorney/client relationship with you by means of an engagement letter setting forth the terms of representation. The INTA Pro Bono Committee may monitor the progress of the case at a high level, but will have no day-to-day contact and no responsibility for the case.

For Attorneys:
Following a successful pilot period, INTA will open the attorney pool to eligible members. Stay tuned for more information.

Eligibility Criteria for Potential Clients

For Individuals:

1. Financial need; and 

Determinations with respect to financial need will be based on, among other things, an analysis of past an current income, the number of people in your household and number of dependents, and whether the payment of standard legal fees for the particular matter would significantly deplete your economic resources or would otherwise be inappropriate.

2. The existence of a bona fide trademark issue with which they would like assistance of counsel

For Non-Profit Organizations:

  1. Non-profit organizations (e.g., 501(c)(3) organizations and/or those that serve the disadvantaged or enhance quality of life through important social, civic, arts, educational, or environmental programs or services;
  2. The existence of a bona fide trademark issuel; and
  3. Evaluation of an organization’s operating budget and financial status.

Determinations with respect to financial need will be based on, among other things, an analysis of the past two years of revenue and expenses, projected revenue, the annual operating budget, the following year’s projected budget, the number of employees, and whether the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization’s resources.

Note: A bona fide trademark issue is one involving any aspect of trademark law, including: trademark clearance, registration, disputes, licensing or sale, customs recordals, detainments, or seizures.

Please note that INTA can neither guarantee that it will be able to refer any case to an attorney nor that any representation will be successful.

Submitting a request for legal services does not make you a client of INTA and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and INTA or any of its members, employees, directors, or officers. You may become a client of an INTA member attorney through the Clearinghouse only if: (1) INTA approves your application for consideration; and (2) you execute an engagement letter with an attorney/firm setting forth terms of representation.