ASU Law’s Lisa Foundation Advanced Patent Scholarship gives students the opportunity to gain experience in patent advocacy and litigation

Steve Lisa, a leading patent litigation and licensing attorney and a 1984 alumnus of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, has partnered with the Intellectual Property Law program at ASU Law for the past several years to offer the Lisa Foundation Advanced Patent Scholar Program. The Lisa Foundation Advanced Patent Scholar is a truly unique opportunity for students to focus on advanced patent advocacy and litigation. The selected scholars gain direct training from Mr. Lisa and ASU Law IP faculty while earning a scholarship in the process.

In the competitive scholarship program, selected students are given the opportunity to take a two-credit independent study focused on conducting a patent appeal to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board guided by Mr. Lisa, ASU Law Professor Tyson Winarski, and other experienced patent attorneys.

Appellate work at the USPTO is a vital part of patent prosecution. Appeals at the USPTO are decided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The program has provided recent scholars the opportunity to work on actual patent application from a leading fortune 500 company with headquarters in Silicon Valley that stands rejected on a final rejection. Students take that patent application and develop a strategy for advancing the case along with writing a Pre-Appeal Brief, an Appeal Brief, draft an Answer from the USPTO Examiner, and perform a simulated Oral Argument in a mock-trial setting.

In addition to receiving feedback from Mr. Lisa and Professor Winarski on their work, students receive the actual documents that the company submitted in the case during the appellate process for review. The goal of the course is to give students a practical working knowledge of the USPTO Appeals process while prosecuting patents. Patent Law is a prerequisite for this course. This course is a great way to learn persuasive patent advocacy skills for patent prosecution that are applicable to patent litigation as well.

Critically, this independent study provides students with essential, direct training from Mr. Lisa, a gifted and prominent patent litigation partner. For a few hours each week during the semester, scholars have the opportunity to gain direct training from Mr. Lisa and benefit from his decades of experience. Selection as a Lisa Foundation Advanced Patent Scholar comes with a scholarship award from the Lisa Foundation.

The Advanced Patent Scholars program builds on the skills and experience students gain from the Lisa Foundation Patent Clinic at ASU Law. Clinic students have the opportunity to draft and file patent applications, conduct art searches, and respond to office actions on behalf of actual inventors and companies. The Lisa Foundation Patent Clinic was the first such law school clinic in the U.S.

Since its inception, ASU Law Lisa Foundation Advanced Patent Scholars have benefited from the experience including recent recipients Eric Wilkins, Timmy Lee, Madison Budinich, Heather Martin, Marisa McNally, Sharif Ahmed, Cory Owan, and Trent Hoffman.


Mr. Lisa has practiced exclusively in the specialized field of intellectual property law, with a focus on patents, trademarks, and trade secret protection. A large part of Mr. Lisa’s practice currently involves representing major research universities, individuals, and small companies on patent licensing and litigation matters on a contingent fee basis. He has served as lead counsel on highly successful licensing and enforcement matters, including most recently for the Washington Research Foundation (Suominen Low IF patents) and Helferich Patent Licensing (wireless messaging patents). He has extensive experience in leading litigation teams before the Patent Office in contested post-grant review proceedings and in the licensing, litigation, and trials of complex patent matters. Mr. Lisa established the Lisa Foundation to support his educational philanthropic projects.