Inventor Assistance Program

The Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) supports inventors and small businesses with limited resources transform their innovation into commercial assets. The IAP matches selected beneficiaries with a volunteer patent attorney or agent to help them navigate the patent system at no cost.

The Program benefits from a global network of volunteers that provide patent drafting and prosecution services on a pro bono basis to beneficiaries in their own country and in selected jurisdictions.

Participating countries – Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa.

Video: Why Apply to WIPO’s Inventor Assistance Program

Get involved

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(Illustrations: Getty Images/DrAfter123)

Volunteers – Work with the IAP

Through the IAP, volunteers provide a free kick-start to the use and development of the patent system in the IAP participating countries. Their work helps spur innovation at the grassroots level and also allows them to develop their professional skills in new, rewarding ways.

Attorneys, agents, and other professionals specializing in patents can volunteer for the Program. Currently, the IAP is seeking volunteers from participating countries, as well as Europe and the United States.

Volunteers offer their services at no cost to IAP beneficiaries, to support under-resourced inventors and small businesses navigate the patent system.

You can apply as a volunteer using the IAP Online Platform. You will need a WIPO Account to complete the online application form. We will get back to you about your acceptance into the Program.

To be eligible as a volunteer, you must be qualified to practice before the patent office of the country where you are volunteering services. You must also accept in writing the guiding principles PDF, Guiding Principles.

If you are from another jurisdiction, we still encourage you to apply. We will let you know when we are accepting volunteers from your country.

Inventors – Benefit from IAP

The IAP can help you transform your idea into a commercial asset. If selected, the IAP matches you with a volunteer patent professional to navigate the application process at no cost. Selected beneficiaries benefit from a global network of volunteers that provide patent drafting and prosecution services.

Securing a patent gives you control over the destiny of your invention. It lets you decide who can make, use, or sell it. This asset makes it easier to work with others to realize an invention and can help attract investors and partners. A patent can also be sold or licensed to create income.

Inventors and small businesses who live in an IAP participating country and meet the local eligibility criteria can apply for support through the IAP.

To qualify for the IAP, you must:

The National Screening Board in each participating country determines eligibility and selects beneficiaries based on the number of available volunteers.

*Some participating countries require potential beneficiaries to take the IAP online course, even if you have a pending patent application.

Applying to the IAP is easy:

  1. Apply
    File your application for assistance on the IAP Online Platform. Before applying make sure you have a WIPO Account.
  2. Get selected
    The National Screening Board will review your application to determine your eligibility based on local criteria.
  3. Get matched
    Once selected, you will be matched with a local volunteer to navigate the patent application process

For specifics on each country, please refer to the following information:

Online self-check course for inventors

WIPO has developed a dedicated online course to help first-time inventors learn about the key aspects of patents and patenting process, and the IAP. The course is free of charge and open to the public.

Completing the online course is a prerequisite for accessing the IAP in many participating countries.

Read our FAQs on the IAP for more information.

WIPO events


Video: Interview with Mr. Ivan Rizo Tello, awarded inventor under the IAP.
Video: Awards ceremony – Colombian Inventor of the Year (2017).
Video: Colombia awards its best inventors, supporting local creativity.
Video: IP experts talk about pro bono activities and the IAP.

Structure and governance

The IAP is a partnership. Its implementation and growth requires the commitment and shared responsibility of the participating countries, volunteers, the IAP Steering Committee, WIPO and sponsors.

Guiding principles

All main actors must accept the IAP guiding principles PDF, IAP Guiding principles

Steering Committee

The central governance body of the IAP is the Steering Committee, which provides overall strategic direction, guidance and support.

The Steering Committee is made up of IP thought leaders, including the representatives of the stakeholders involved in the IAP.

List of Steering Committee members PDF, List of Steering Committee members


WIPO work with countries, volunteers, the Steering Committee and Sponsors to implement and promote the IAP. We provide support to countries join and operate the Program, including through our IAP Online Platform. WIPO also coordinates activity at the international level, and works with participating countries to develop their innovation ecosystems to maximize the IAP’s impact.


Corporations, law firms, associations of IP professionals, as well as other institutions working in the field of IP, are invited to join the IAP as sponsors.

Sponsors contribute by promoting the IAP, recruiting volunteers or offer other value-added services to beneficiaries. Sponsor membership in the Program is subject to approval of the IAP Steering Committee.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, contact us.