Life sciences startups in the University of California community can obtain pro bono legal assistance on intellectual property issues from Berkeley law students working under the supervision of practicing attorneys from leading Bay Area law firms.
Eligible companies include teams participating in Skydeck, QB3, and other early stage UC-related enterprises.
Under the program, eligible startups will be paired with a team of two UC Berkeley law students and a senior, practicing attorney who works in the field. The law students and their supervising attorneys will work with the founders, understand the technology involved, identify and research legal issues, and conduct an early stage “freedom-to-operate” study of the patent landscape faced by the startup. This work will result in a confidential freedom-to-operate analysis designed to highlight how the business model of the startup is viable within the patent landscape in the relevant field. The analysis can be used in the early stage financing and related efforts of the startup.
The project is being managed and overseen by Professor Rob Merges of the UC Berkeley Law School who teaches a seminar that is paired with the field component, providing students with the necessary legal context. The project provides valuable experiential learning opportunities for Berkeley Law students and offers valuable services to entrepreneurs in Berkeley’s local innovation ecosystem.
Startups interested in taking advantage of this program should submit a brief application. Companies participating in the Fall 2017 program will be selected by July 30, 2017.