The Trademark and Entrepreneur Clinic at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law was recently selected to join the United States Patent and Trademark Office Law School Clinic Certification Program. Varnum partner Tim Kroninger is the director of the clinic, having developed the curriculum and launched the new clinic in the fall of 2017. Kroninger also serves as an adjunct professor at the school.
The Detroit Mercy Law Trademark and Entrepreneur Clinic began with a goal of offering law students the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs to navigate the legal issues involved in business startup, with a primary focus on business entity formation and the protection of trademarks and brands. Its selection, along with several others, as a USPTO certified school was announced in June, bringing the total number of participating law schools across the country to 63.
“The expansion of our Law School Clinic Certification Program is a key step toward ensuring independent inventors and small businesses receive the help they need to flourish and that their intellectual property is protected,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu.
The selection committee chose schools for the program based on their solid intellectual property curricula and pro bono services to the public, as well as community networking and outreach. Under the Certification Program, law students are able to process patent and/or trademark applications before the USPTO under the guidance of an approved faculty clinic supervisor. The Detroit Mercy Law Clinic has been certified to participate in the trademark program.
Kroninger is a partner at Varnum with extensive experience in intellectual property, franchising and licensing, and contract law. A graduate of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Michigan State University’s College of Business, he has previously served as a guest speaker on intellectual property and business law matters at both schools. He also assists student entrepreneurs at MSU in connection with Spartan Innovations, a part of the MSU Innovation Center, and through Varnum’s MiSpringboard Program.
Detroit Mercy Law’s clinical program is one of only a few required clinical programs in the country. Founded initially as the Urban Law Clinic in 1965, it was among the earliest clinics in the nation. The Trademark and Entrepreneur Clinic became the eighth clinic in Detroit Mercy Law’s clinical program last fall.