Spokane Journal of Business

UI College of Law launches trademark services in Boise

Legal clinic gives students ability to apply learning by assisting entrepreneurs

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With a goal of helping Idaho's entrepreneurs and law students alike, the University of Idaho College of Law says it now is offering trademark prosecution services through a Small Business Legal Clinic it operates in Boise.

The introduction of trademark services into the legal clinic complements the College of Law's curriculum in intellectual property (IP) and technology law, which focuses on the legal issues surrounding the protection of IP and the management of IP rights, the university says in a recent press release.

"I hope this will be the first step toward the SBLC's offering of a fuller roster of IP services to Idaho's entrepreneurs and small businesses," says professor Annemarie Bridy, who leads the university's IP program.

Bridy adds that bringing trademark services into the legal clinic will give students a valuable opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they acquire in their IP courses in a practical, client-centered setting.

The College of Law appointed Boise attorney Steve Nipper to serve as its first adjunct clinical professor in the clinic. Nipper will supervise students as they work on trademark matters, and will collaborate with the university's associate dean for Boise programs, Lee Dillion, who directs the clinic, the university says. Dillion will continue to supervise clinic students who work on non-IP matters.

According to Nipper, offering trademark services for small businesses through the clinic "will get small business owners high-quality legal help at a rate they can afford."

Although the clinic doesn't charge its clients for legal services, clients seeking trademark services will pay the standard application fees charged by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the release says.

Under Nipper's direction, students will assist clients with trademark applications and guide them through the prosecution process, and when issues arise, students will take action on them.

Moscow Brewing Co., a craft beer brewery owned by Moscow resident Lucas Rate, is the first small business to take advantage of the clinic's trademark services, the university says.

"The prospect of working with the University of Idaho College of Law and participating in the new intellectual property trademark services is really an enormous boon for us," says Rate in the news release. "It could not have come at a better time in our development, and it will help secure our brand in so many ways."

Rate notes that the brewing industry nationally has seen an unprecedented boom in small, craft breweries like his.

"Like me, many of these small players have no business background, and the reality is that aside from the formalities of the licensing processes, there exists something of a legal free-for-all within the craft beer segment," he says.

Moscow Brewing Co. already has worked with business classes from both UI and Washington State University.

"The outreach is truly remarkable, from the viewpoint of a small business in the university's backyard," says Rate. "To have the opportunity to work with the University of Idaho College of Law and take advantage of the IP services will only help ensure that we lay a solid foundation for the future of our business, and the future of beer in Moscow."

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