New clinic to offer variety of legal services to community

From helping startup companies grow into strong businesses to guiding inventors as they obtain patents, students in the School of Law’s new Intellectual Property and Business Formation Legal Clinic, working under the supervision of experienced intellectual property law attorneys, will offer a variety of services to the University and St. Louis community.

“This clinic has an opportunity to provide intellectual property and business-formation legal services to clients who might otherwise not have access to competent legal counsel,” said David R. Deal, J.D., who recently joined the School of Law as the clinic’s administrative director and as the acting associate director of the Center for Research on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“We can help identify promising ideas and begin the patent process while assisting startup companies with a range of legal needs. In addition, our work can help support the creation of the BioBelt.”

Nine students will be divided into teams representing the clinic’s four program areas: interdisciplinary innovation, business incubators, local research organizations and nonprofit pro bono organizations.

Students on the interdisciplinary innovation team will work with the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the senior design course during the spring semester. In the fall semester, students will help turn business ideas into reality in Olin School of Business’ entrepreneurship course, the Hatchery.

With the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise as their principal client, students on the business incubator team will provide early stage legal advice to entrepreneurs who are refining and preparing new plant science technologies for market.

The local research organizations team will work with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden. The students will focus on international projects involving genetic resources, biotechnology and the protection of traditional medicinal and agricultural knowledge.

Students on the nonprofit pro bono organizations team will assist St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and the Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors, a nationwide intellectual property referral service established to help clients from developing countries find U.S. professionals to represent them in intellectual property matters as a public service.

“This clinic is one of two new law school initiatives funded by a generous grant awarded to Washington University by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the other being the Center for Research on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will conduct directed research, in the form of interdisciplinary academic conferences and workshops, and administer a University-wide competitive faculty grant program,” said Charles R. McManis, J.D., the Thomas and Karole Greene Professor of Law, director of the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Program and director of the new Center for Research on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Deal is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri School of Engineering.

Prior to coming to the University, he was an associate at Thompson Coburn LLP and a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Deal’s practice at Thompson Coburn focused primarily on the preparation and prosecution of patent applications but also included trademark, copyright, trade secret, licensing and litigation matters.

His work as a patent examiner included reviewing patent applications, drafting office actions and working with inventors to place applications in condition for allowance and to ultimately issue as U.S. patents.

For more information, call Deal at 935-7960 or go online to