GAINESVILLE and BOCA RATON, Fla.May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (the Institute) announced the one year anniversary of the Florida Patent Pro Bono (FloBono) Program. Launched in May of 2015 with the assistance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the program links qualified inventors and small businesses with volunteer patent agents and attorneys who provide pro bono legal assistance on specific aspects of the patent process. The goals of the program are to promote entrepreneurship, job growth and economic development through innovation.

Patent Pro Bono was formed through the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) passed by Congress in 2011. Recognizing that innovation drives the US economy, the AIA called for the USPTO to establish regional patent programs to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. Demand for the program in Florida was high, with Floridainventors filing 10,422 patent applications in 2014, placing them among the top sources of new applications in the United States. Accepted applicants may expect exposure to intellectual property experts, support in certain aspects of the patent application process, and partnership opportunities to enhance business development.

Since its inception, the FloBono program has assisted over 200 applicants, with volunteer patent practitioners providing more than $50,000 worth of free services.

"I was happy to be a part of the establishment of FloBono and, as a Steering Committee member, am delighted to see the program flourishing after such a short time," said Alan Weisberg, Owner, Christopher & Weisberg, P.A., a volunteer attorney and steering committee member for the program. "Having participated as a volunteer patent attorney on a number of matters over the past year, it is rewarding to see the program assisting entrepreneurs in Florida who seek protection for their inventions."

"The assistance of our volunteer patent agents and attorneys has allowed us to support inventors in every corner of the state," said Jackson Streeter, Institute Chief Executive Officer. "Intellectual property protection is critical to the success of knowledge-based businesses, and by guiding inventors through the patent prosecution process, volunteer patent agents and attorneys are contributing to the growth of Florida's innovation economy."

About the Institute

Formed by the Florida Legislature in 2007, the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with the technology licensing and commercialization offices of Florida's state universities and private research institutions to leverage a $2B+ research base and form investable companies that create clean jobs in new industries that are driving the global economy. With funding from the State of Florida through the Department of Economic Opportunity, and through the generosity of mentors, advisors and donors, the Institute provides company building services, and seed funding through the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund, to promising Florida startups. Forty-nine companies have been funded to date, and the Institute's economic impact through June 30, 2015 was $379 million, a return on investment of 14 times to the State of Florida.