The alliance between Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, Inc., the United States Patent Office, and the Boston Patent Law Association has been a boon for the New England innovation community. This partnership ultimately resulted in the 2015 creation of the Patent Pro Bono Program of New England, the USPTO-sponsored regional patent pro bono legal service provider. The Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston and the Boston Patent Law Association administer the program, which serves inventors in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The USPTO issued the first patent prosecuted through the program on August 8, 2017, approximately fifteen months from its filing date. The patent was granted to inventor, musician, business manager, and Harvard undergrad, Raymond RM Wang. In addition to founding Sustainable Youth Canada, an environmental non-profit, Mr. Wang regularly engages audiences of 5,000 people or more in his speaking engagements. According to Mr. Wang:
I'm very much grateful for the help of the VLA patent pro bono program, and particularly the support of Mr. Rajesh Vallabh and Mr. Dana Gordon at Foley Hoag. The program has been very helpful for students like me, who are exploring ways to push budding innovations into the market on a limited budget. I very much appreciate the legal guidance and expertise of the pro bono attorneys, and hope that the program can continue helping foster innovation in the Boston area.
The invention helps minimize the potentially dangerous spreading of germs on airplanes by modifying the airflow in the cabins.
Patent No. US 9,725,178 B2, Airflow Modification Apparatus and Method
An apparatus and method for modifying aircraft cabin airflow to reduce the transmission of airborne pathogens and disease. Other embodiments may relate to other types of public transportation vehicles such as trains or buses, or in other enclosed spaces such as waiting rooms. Mr. Wang’s invention has profound implications for public health and hygiene. By “redirect[ing] and stratify[ing] downward incoming flows of fresh air,” the invention allows for “significantly less mixing of fresh air with exhaled or used air.” Given the role of transportation on disease (especially with flu season on the way!), it is clear to see how an inventor on a budget managed to innovate an entire industry. Working with extraordinary individuals like Mr. Wang allows the Patent Pro Bono Program to truly enrich communities across New England. When cost threatens the spirit of invention and entrepreneurship, the Patent Pro Bono Program gives innovation the chance it deserves. Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is invested in our creative community. With the passage of the America Invents Act, the USPTO is working with regional patent pro bono programs to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. To learn more about the Patent Pro Bono Program of New England, visit, and to learn more about Raymond Wang and his other projects, visit his website,
Julian del Prado is a legal intern for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, a musician, a writer for animation, and is finishing his last year at Northeastern University School of Law. He hopes to serve artists and entrepreneurs in his community through legal counselling.
Volume 49, Issue 4
2018 Ⓒ Boston Patent Law Association
Message from the President Rory P. Pheiffer
Officers and Board of Governors
Stopping the Sale of Gray Market Medical Devices
Community Calendar
PKI system transition at the USPTO
Breakfast Mixer with Delegation from State Intellectual Property Office, Jiangsu, China
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WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp.
Message from the Editor-in-Chief
Job listings
Trademarks & Unfair Competition Committee presents Lunch with Judge Peter Cataldo
Members on the Move
AJG and Boston IP Inns of Court & BPLA Present Decision Makers
BPLA Annual Meeting
USPTO Issues First Patent Sought Under the Patent Pro Bono Program of New England
BPLA Meeting with Director Andrej Iancu
Invented Here Honorees
Key Takeaways from the First Updates to the AIA Trial Practice Guide
BPLA Endorses Joint IPO-AIPLA Proposal Concerning Section 101 of the Patent Act
Nominations for the BPLA Officers and Board of Governors 2018-2019
2017 Annual Meeting Minutes