Information for Inventors

Chicago-Kent 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 300 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.

Finally, an application fee of $100 must be submitted with the inventor's supporting documentation during an intake interview.

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 300 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. 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. 

>> 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.