The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), announced the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees, all of whom have changed the world through human, social and/or economic progress.

Among this year’s class of Inductees is Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura, responsible for the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which enabled the white LED, and the blue laser diode; Jaap Haartsen, the inventor of Bluetooth® technology, now used in 2.7 billion devices and growing; George Alcorn, who furthered deep space exploration with his X-ray spectrometer; Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp, pioneers in display technology related to rear projection television and 3D applications; and duo Ioannis Yannas and John Burke, who have saved the lives of many burn victims with their invention of Artificial Skin.

“Our new group of Inductees have unique stories that personify the pursuit of the American dream and their relentless drive to overcome adversity,” said Invent Now, Inc. CEO Michael Oister. “Despite the obstacles, they have advanced our nation through innovative ideas, groundbreaking technologies, fearless dedication and collaborative work.”

The 2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are:

George Alcorn
George Alcorn invented the Imaging X-ray Spectrometer, which significantly improved the ability of scientists to identify materials through their visual X-ray spectra and to gather analytical data on remote solar systems, including distant planets and stars.

Mary-Dell Chilton
Mary-Dell Chilton’s research in agricultural biotechnology resulted in the first Transgenic Plant, which has made it possible to develop crops with increased yields, resistance to insects and disease and the ability to tolerate adverse environmental conditions.

Jaap C. Haartsen
Jaap Haartsen led the invention of Bluetooth®, a wireless communications technology for the connection of devices over short distances. The market for Bluetooth® devices in 2014 was 2.7 billion devices and the Bluetooth® Special Interest Group (SIG) has more than 20,000 member firms using the technology in their products.

Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp
Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp are recognized as pioneers in polarization-control technology. Their inventions enabled high-speed spectrometers, color-management for business projectors and projection TVs, and the 3D digital-cinema. Their technology made it possible for movie-goers to see high-quality 3D at their neighborhood cinema, including movies such as Avatar and hundreds since.

Shuji Nakamura
Shuji Nakamura invented the blue light-emitting diode (LED), considered groundbreaking in the field of semiconductor research.  His blue LED enabled the elusive white LED, and he also invented the blue laser diode used in Blu-ray technology.

John Burke and Ioannis Yannas
Surgeon John Burke (honored posthumously) and MIT engineering and chemistry professor Ioannis Yannas collaborated on research Burke was conducting for burn patients. Together, they developed the first commercially reproducible artificial human skin that encouraged and facilitated new skin growth.

Edith Clarke
Edith Clarke (honored posthumously), a pioneering female electrical engineer, invented a graphical calculator that greatly simplified the calculations necessary to determine the electrical characteristics of long electrical transmission lines.

Marion Donovan
Marion Donovan (honored posthumously) invented a waterproof diaper cover, a predecessor of the disposable diaper; she patented it and sold the rights for $1 million.  Constantly creating inventions to meet life’s everyday needs, she is credited with being one of a small number of successful women inventors of her era.

Charles Drew
Charles Drew (honored posthumously) was an African-American physician and researcher renowned for his groundbreaking work in blood plasma preservation.

Thomas Jennings
Thomas Jennings (honored posthumously) invented a process that he called “dry-scouring” – what we now call dry cleaning – and received a patent for his process in 1821, becoming the first African-American to be granted a patent.

Paul MacCready
Paul MacCready (honored posthumously) changed how people thought about aviation with his invention of the Gossamer Condor, the first human-powered craft.

Stanford Ovshinsky
Stanford Ovshinsky (honored posthumously) was a prolific inventor who specialized in amorphous materials that resulted in dramatic improvements in battery technology, electronics and solar power. Ovshinsky had more than 400 United States and international patents, including many related to the nickel-metal hydride battery and the field of alternative energy.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in the Madison Building on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA, was established in 1973 and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and science achievements and helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts.

“This year’s Inductees once again remind us of how significantly the world as we know it can be transformed when innovative minds apply themselves to vexing challenges,” said Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO. “We are honored to join with the National Inventors Hall of Fame in giving due credit to these inspiring innovators who have improved our lives while maximizing the strengths of the U.S. patent system.”

Both new and previous Inductees will be honored in the greatest celebration of American innovation. This three-day event series held in our nation’s capital will include the National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony emceed by Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and Host of Innovation Nation.

•    May 11th - Illumination Ceremony on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA, where Inductees will place individual illuminated hexagons bearing their names in the centerpiece display to symbolize lighting the path of history throughout the nation, while simultaneously influencing the future of innovation

•    May 12th – A VIP Reception followed by the official National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, where the new Inductee class will be honored for lighting the “fire of genius” through their contributions to the prosperity and well-being of America and the world

•    May 13th - The National Inventors Hall of Fame will illuminate America’s path to innovation through a panel discussion comprised of some of the most influential technology leaders in America, presented with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

As part of their continued involvement in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inductees will help to foster the development of America’s next generation of innovators by inspiring the curriculum of Camp Invention, the nation’s premier summer enrichment day camp that encourages innovation in youth and focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Inductees will also help select winners in the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition, a national platform for showcasing the emerging ideas and technologies that will benefit our society in the future.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the 26th Edison Awards will be held in Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center and Navy Pier. Previously held in New York City, the prestigious international award program recognizes business and technology innovations and will be celebrated in Chicago for the first time on April 24 and 25.

“I am pleased to welcome the Edison Awards to Chicago and showcase top global talent in business and technology,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The selection of Chicago as host for the awards reflects Chicago’s growing international status as a destination for technological ingenuity and as a place where innovators are launching their ideas.”

The Edison Awards will take place over the course of two days, featuring an opening reception at the Cultural Center, a Meet the Innovators forum, an innovators’ showcase, and a gala at Navy Pier where the winners of the awards will be announced. The Edison Award can be presented to people, products, and organizations, and nominees are judged by a panel of more than 3,000 individuals. Sponsors for this year’s awards include Discovery Communications, Nielsen, Science Channel, USA Today, ViridiSTOR, and McAndrews, Held & Malloy.

“The Edison Awards provides a robust platform for honoring the best in innovation, and encourages today’s development teams, researchers, designers, and entrepreneurs to dream big. We’re inspired by our 2013 finalists and delighted to have this opportunity to recognize and promote the outstanding accomplishments they represent,” said Frank Bonafilia, Executive Director of the Edison Awards. “We’re pleased to hold the Edison Awards in Chicago in recognition of the city as an increasing hub of innovation and technology.”

The Edison Awards is a program conducted by Edison Universe, a non-profit, 501C(3) organization dedicated to fostering future innovators. The Awards have been recognizing and honoring the best in innovations and innovators since 1987. They honor game-changing innovations that are at the forefront of new product and service development, marketing and human-centered design, and are one of the highest accolades a company can receive in the name of successful innovation.

For more information, visit:

Published in Edison Awards

GE (NYSE: GE) and Quirky, the company that makes invention accessible, announced a new partnership that will allow everyone to participate in the development of new products with two global leaders in invention and innovation.

The partnership will consist of two parts: a groundbreaking new platform where GE will open thousands of its most promising patents and new technologies to the Quirky community for the development of new consumer products; and a co-branded product development initiative to build a full line of app-enabled connected devices for the home in areas such as health, security, water or air that will be developed using advanced manufacturing tools and technologies. This new line of products will be co-branded Wink: Instantly Connected.

Combining GE's technology and scale with Quirky's collaborative process and speed provides a platform that will truly unlock the power of GE's lab-proven technologies and the potential of the app-enabled product category.  The partnership represents a marriage between what GE has dubbed the "Industrial Internet" or the internet of really big things -- with the internet of everyday things. Consumers and business will not buy more things they'll need to think about, but rather be surrounded by things that think about them.

Beth Comstock, SVP and chief marketing officer, GE, said, "We admire Quirky's speed, collaboration and inventiveness and by opening up lab-proven technology and patents to everyday inventors we can help inspire new ideas and accelerate advanced manufacturing innovation. At GE we are passionate about innovation at market speed, working with entrepreneurs and finding new models of business, and this partnership is just another way we can help inspire invention and help scale it. We are excited to see how the Quirky community uses tools from our scientists and technologists around the world to develop products in an entirely different way."

GE Patents & the Quirky Community

In May, GE will make thousands of U.S. patents available to the global Quirky community, which may be used as the basis for creating new consumer product ideas. Quirky will develop a new platform designed to inspire inventors to find new and unexpected uses for existing technologies.

Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of Quirky, said, "Thousands of patents from one of the most inventive companies in the world will be available to provoke, inspire and drive a whole new way of thinking. For years patents have become widely misunderstood and misused. We are going to return patents to their original purpose to act as a blueprint for technological and societal progress while protecting inventors and becoming a source of inspiration for future creators."

Some of the first technologies that GE will open up include optical systems, dual cooling jets and barrier coating:

  • Optical systems, including holographic and fast-focusing lens technologies - GE's holographic storage technology can be used for archiving large amounts of data and fast-focusing optics technology enables rapid, high resolution 2D image capture of 3D images, currently applicable to markets ranging from contactless fingerprinting, to semi-conductor quality control and medical optics.
  • Barrier coatings — GE's Ultra-High Barrier technology enables thinner, lighter electronic devices including smartphones, televisions and solar panels by using thin film encapsulation to protect electronic devices from degradation by moisture and oxygen.
  • Telematics and asset tracking technology -  Modules used for commercial fleet tracking and vehicle navigation systems, which are used to monitor the location, movement, and behavior of a vehicle or fleet of vehicles.

This is good news for innovators, consumers, and our country," said David Kappos, partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. "There is tremendous value in patented ideas, and it is wonderful to see new collaborative ventures aimed at moving such ideas into the marketplace."

GE & Quirky Co-Branded Product Development Initiative

GE & Quirky have come together to co-develop a full line of app-enabled products that will allow you to instantly connect to the things that matter. Today, creative people worldwide are invited to submit ideas and help in the creation of an entirely new product line. GE and Quirky will review the first round of product ideas during a special product evaluation on April 17th, 2013. The companies and experts in the Quirky community will continue to review ideas as part of the ongoing partnership and regular Quirky review process. The new line of products — "Wink: Instantly Connected" — will be developed by Quirky and distributed to top retailers.

"This is one of the most exciting new categories in consumer products. Our future will be driven by access to things via our smartphones. There is a ton of invention to be done in this area and no one owns this category," Kaufman added.

For more information, visit:

Published in GE

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today published final rules of practice implementing the first-inventor-to-file provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA).  The provision, one of the hallmarks of the AIA, is a major step towards harmonization of the U.S. patent system with those of the United States’ major trading partners, allowing greater consistency in the prosecution and enforcement of U.S. patents. The AIA also includes safeguards to ensure that only an original inventor or his assignee may be awarded a patent under the first-inventor-to-file system. The first-inventor-to-file provision of the AIA goes into effect on March 16, 2013, and represents the final implementation of the changes mandated by the AIA.

The USPTO also published final examination guidelines setting forth the agency’s interpretation of how the first-inventor-to-file provision alters novelty and obviousness determinations for an invention claimed in a patent application.  In particular, the agency’s final examination guidelines inform the public and patent examiners how the AIA’s changes to the novelty provisions of law alter the scope of what is prior art to a claimed invention and how the new grace period operates.

“Migration to a first-inventor-to-file system will bring greater transparency, objectivity, predictability, and simplicity to patentability determinations and is another step towards harmonizing U.S. patent law with that of other industrialized countries,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea.

Prior to the passage of the AIA, the USPTO was the only national patent office using a “first-to-invent” system. First-inventor-to-file complements USPTO’s existing efforts toward greater harmonization with foreign counterparts. One result of these efforts is the Cooperative Patent Classification system launched on January 1st of this year, a common classification system that will enhance the examination capabilities of both the USPTO and the European Patent Office. Another such effort is USPTO’s ongoing coordination with the world’s largest patent offices--the so-called Tegernsee Group dialogues. The USPTO currently is seeking comment on these initiatives.

The AIA authorizes derivation proceedings before the USPTO, which will ensure that a person will not be able to obtain a patent for an invention that he or she did not actually invent.  The AIA also creates a one-year grace period, which will ensure that the patentability of an invention is not defeated by the inventor’s own disclosures, disclosures of information obtained from the inventor, or third party disclosures of the same information as the inventor’s previous public disclosures. The new micro-entity (75%) discounts for patent applicants also make it more affordable than ever for independent inventors to seek patents.

The USPTO will provide more information on the first-inventor-to-file final rules and examination guidelines at a public training session to be held on Friday March 8, 2013 at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.  The training session will also be webcast.

For more information, visit:

Published in USPTO

The countdown has begun to the first Engadget Expand, a brand new event created for technology enthusiasts and gadget-lovers. Engadget Expand will give attendees access usually reserved for industry insiders by connecting them with consumer electronics luminaries, Engadget's editors and the hottest new gadgets exhibiting on the show floor.

Today, Engadget Expand announces a final call for submissions to the Insert Coin: New Challengers inventor competition where Engadget editors will host a new product competition for independent inventors. The Engadget editors will choose a slate of semi-finalists for readers to vote on before the event, and a select number of finalists will be chosen to attend the event and show off their inventions to attendees and a panel of expert judges. Finalists must have a working prototype to demo for the first time at the show, and attendees, judges and readers will pick the winners to receive a cash prize and guaranteed review on Engadget.

The competition brings Engadget’s series about noteworthy, crowd-funded hardware to life with an on stage battle for the best new inventions. All applications must be entered using the official form by 11:59 p.m. EST on Feb. 8, 2013.

Engadget editors, readers and a panel of experts will judge submissions, which must be entirely new projects, according to innovativeness, design, functionality, overall quality and market relevance.

Winners will be announced and prizes granted according to the following schedule:

  • Feb. 15 – 10 semi-finalists will receive tickets to attend Expand and a $1,000 travel stipend to exhibit and compete on the show floor.
  • March 1 – Five finalists, which readers select from the 10 semi-finalists, will demo their product on stage to the Expand audience.
  • March 16 to March 17 – One grand prize winner will receive $20,000 and a product review on Engadget. One reader's choice winner will receive $5,000 and a product review on Engadget.

Engadget Expand will also host a roster of thought-provoking panel discussions and fireside chats with some of the biggest names in technology and innovation, getting attendees in front of the product people connected to today’s most interesting devices.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Chris Anderson – CEO, 3D Robotics and former editor-in-chief, Wired
  • Veronica Belmont – co-host, Tekzilla
  • Ryan Block – co-founder, gdgt
  • Walter de Brouwer – CEO and founder, Scanadu
  • Steve Cousins – CEO, Willow Garage
  • Scott Croyle – vice president of design, HTC
  • Michael Laine – president, LiftPort Group
  • Gene Munster – research analyst, devices & Internet, Piper Jaffray
  • Avi Reichental – president and CEO, 3D Systems
  • Tom Rivellini – Mars Science Laboratory entry descent and landing lead mechanical engineer, NASA/JPL
  • Yancey Strickler – co-founder and head of community, Kickstarter
  • Julie Uhrman – founder and CEO, OUYA

The Expand conference has many sponsorship opportunities to reach the show’s gadget-obsessed attendees, including the newly launched Indie Corner, designed for companies that are not major manufacturers. The Indie package includes a cocktail table and two tickets to the Engadget Expand Conference. Additional sponsorship opportunities include branding, giveaways, after parties, and exhibit space.

Engadget Expand is a brand new event designed to connect consumer electronics enthusiasts with the products and people they care most about. The inaugural event in San Francisco features an inventor competition, engaging speaker sessions and show floor exhibits of the latest gadgets to hit the market specifically catered to Engadget’s gadget-loving readers. The event will take place March 16-17, 2013, at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

For more information, visit:

Published in Engadget

Radios are used for a wide range of tasks, from the most mundane to the most critical of communications, from garage door openers to military operations. As the use of wireless technology proliferates, radios and communication devices often compete with, interfere with, and disrupt the operations of other devices. DARPA seeks innovative approaches that ensure robust communications in such congested and contested environments.

The DARPA Spectrum Challenge is a competition for teams to create software-defined radio protocols that best use communication channels in the presence of other users and interfering signals.

Using a standardized radio hardware platform, the team that finds the best strategies for guaranteeing successful communication in the presence of other competing radios will win.  In addition to bragging rights for the winning teams, one team could win as much as $150,000.

High priority radios in the military and civilian sectors must be able to operate regardless of the ambient electromagnetic environment, to avoid disruption of communications and potential loss of life. Rapid response operations, such as disaster relief, further motivate the desire for multiple radio networks to effectively share the spectrum without requiring direct coordination or spectrum preplanning. Consequently, the need to provide robust communications in the presence of interfering signals is of great importance.

“The Spectrum Challenge is focused on developing new techniques for assured communications in dynamic environments – a necessity for military and first responder missions. We have created a head-to-head competition to see who can transmit a set of data from one radio to another the most effectively and efficiently while being bombarded by interference and competing signals,” said Dr. Yiftach Eisenberg, DARPA program manager. “To win this competition teams will need to develop new algorithms for software-defined radios at universities, small businesses and even on their home computers.”

Registration for the Spectrum Challenge is expected to officially open in January 2013. Any U.S. academic institution, business, or individual, is eligible to compete, with certain restrictions.

For more information, visit:

Published in DARPA

Navy scientists and engineers in 2012 once again had the world's most significant government portfolio of newly patented discoveries and inventions, according to a November report published by the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The Navy topped the list of international government agencies on the IEEE's annual Patent Power Scorecard for the third year in a row with a total of 320 patents, twice as many as its nearest U.S. competitors. Its closest global competitor, the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission in France, had 247 patents.

"Delivering innovative and advanced capabilities is the key to ensuring national security and keeping the Department of the Navy ready to meet existing and future challenges," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder. "The pipeline of intellectual property produced by scientists and engineers in partnerships across the Naval Research Enterprise is the backbone to bringing new innovations to bear for the Navy and Marine Corps."

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) serves the Navy's science and technology needs and is responsible for the service's policy and direction concerning patents, inventions, trademarks, copyrights and royalty payments (intellectual property).

The Navy also recently made the second annual Top 100 Global Innovators list compiled by Thompson Reuters, the world's largest multimedia and information conglomerate. The Navy and the Army are the first government agencies to make the list.

While highlighting the quantity of the Navy's scientific discoveries, these distinctions also emphasize the quality of the research undertaken by Navy scientists-and the impact of their inventions over time.

"This goes beyond simply the number of patents an organization is getting," said John Karasek, supervisory intellectual property counsel at ONR. "This confirms the strength of the Navy's patents and shows that the Navy gets a lot of very significant, groundbreaking patents."

One of the notable patents obtained by the Navy last year was for a fuel cell that can be embedded in the seafloor to convert the interaction of marine sediment and oxygen into electricity. The patent, covering an invention made by the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) Leonard M. Tender, can help reduce the reliance on expensive batteries to power electronic devices such as remote sensors.

In the 1970s, technology invented by Roger L. Easton, a research scientist at NRL, laid the foundation for the Global Positioning System (GPS), commonly used for navigation in today's cars and mobile devices.

IEEE describes itself as the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. It publishes the scorecard each year to rank the relative significance of various organizations' patent portfolios.

For more information, visit:

Published in Navy

SparkFun Electronics is excited to announce the company's inclusion in a new educational initiative between the state of Vermont and For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics. The groundbreaking pilot program, which is currently in place at 10 Career and Technical Education institutions, offers a $3,000 grant from the state of Vermont to each participating program.

The first $1,000 of the grant is allocated to a SparkFun Inventor's Kit LabPack, which includes 10 complete Inventor's Kits, plus 10 more Arduino Uno boards, Baseplates, Circuit Overlays, Breadboards and Kit Guides. The LabPacks are SparkFun's classroom entry point and combine its ProtoSnap, LilyPad, Inventor's Kits or Arduino-compatible through-hole soldering kits with support materials, bringing all the power of the open source community to the classroom.

The remaining $2,000 of the grant provides a portion of the fees required for a school to institute a FIRST Robotics program. FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. Currently, there are approximately 300,000 K-12 students who participate in FIRST Robotics teams and annual competitions around the country. The grant will help offset the starting cost a school needs to join the program.

"To me, the Arduino is becoming the backbone for product development," said Douglas Webster, CTE Coordinator for the Vermont State Department of Education, who worked with SparkFun's Department of Education to create the grant program. "We were trying to get CTE centers on board to be thinking 'robotics/automation/integration of technologies' and Arduino training is a step in that direction. The impact Arduino has on the Maker movement, product development and inspiring youth to become engaged in STEM education is largely untapped. It made sense to offer one grant to purchase kits for both Arduino and FIRST."

State support for the grant program also shows a significant increase in the scope of understanding about the need to facilitate a new generation of STEM education, with a parallel understanding of robotics and electronics innovation and an open source approach to both.

"It gets the state on board promoting emerging technologies within our schools. STEM education buzz to date has meant strengthening mathematics and science. But with standardized tests and other initiatives, the system has been playing that game for decades and has shown little results," Webster said. "By supporting enabling technologies that engage youth in creating and innovating – and the integration of the arts – we may yet see an impact on test scores. However, is it test scores we really care about, or is it the innovation? I'd say inventiveness, creation and a renewed culture of innovation. We have too many problems to solve and now, not later."

"What's really interesting for us is how Vermont is introducing this highly-successful FIRST system, which traditionally is not open-source, while concurrently introducing the open-source model [of SparkFun]," said Jeff Branson, one of SparkFun's educational outreach coordinators. "Introducing them together shows a depth of understanding about the value of open source - not only its intellectual value, but its fiscal value as well - that we haven't seen before."

SparkFun's Department of Education is dedicated to improving the interest and diversification in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields by encouraging kinesthetic and tangible learning with affordable, accessible and relevant technologies.

For more information, visit: or

Published in SparkFun Electronics

The 41st International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva will be held April 10-14, 2013 in Palexpo, under the patronage of the Swiss government, of the State and the City of Geneva and of the World Intellectual Property Organization - WIPO.

With more than 780 exhibitors from 46 countries and 60,000 visitors from all five continents, it is the most important Exhibition exclusively devoted to innovation in the world.

Each year, 1,000 absolutely new inventions are shown by companies, inventors, universities, institutes and State and private organizations.

The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva is the ideal place for exhibitors to meet the public at large, the media and businessmen, in order to diffuse the inventions rapidly on an international level.

The fact that the Grand Prix of the Exhibition and 53 special prizes are awarded, gives the inventions a chance to be immediately recognised at their real value.

For more information, visit:

Published in Inventions Geneva

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the start of two new regional pro bono patent programs in California and the District of Columbia—the result of the USPTO’s cooperative efforts with the California Lawyers for the Arts and the Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA).

The California program, run by California Lawyers for the Arts, will provide legal assistance to individuals and businesses throughout the region that might otherwise be unable to afford solid patent protection. The FCBA’s program will provide services to individuals and businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

“With these programs, qualifying independent inventors will have greater access to intellectual property counsel,” said Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David J. Kappos. “The inventors stand to benefit from the improved access, and our examiners benefit by receiving better quality applications that they can examine more efficiently and effectively.”

The America Invents Act, signed into law by President Obama last year, tasked the USPTO to partner with intellectual property (IP) law associations and others to establish pro bono programs for financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. The primary role of the USPTO in these partnerships is to offer insight, guidance, and training assistance to help lawyers provide the best possible IP legal advice to their clients.

This week, the FCBA also assumed the role as the “National Clearing House” for pro bono patent assistance, serving America’s innovator community by collecting information from interested individuals and businesses, providing an initial eligibility screening based on financial need and other factors, and forwarding the information on eligible applicants to a regional pro bono organization so a suitable attorney can be matched with the applicant.

The USPTO will assist partners like the FCBA and state IP law associations by providing an online application portal for pro bono program assistance, including an application, invention disclosure form, online seminar, and searchable list of programs in the various states.

To date, the USPTO has successfully helped create four pro bono programs across the nation and is partnering with other IP law associations to help an additional 10 get started by the end of 2013. Individuals and businesses interested in applying for pro bono patent assistance should visit the FCBA’s pro bono website, which includes request forms for applicants and patent attorneys interested in volunteering for pro bono patent assistance.

For more information, visit:

Published in USPTO

Engaging young Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) continues to be a key strategy to maintaining the United States' position as a global leader. Yet a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that nearly half of the U.S. workforce — women — continues to be a minority in STEM fields, holding less than 25 percent of jobs. The same report found that women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.

The Lemelson-MIT Program is helping to address this gender gap, awarding — based on technical merit — three all-girl schools up to $10,000 in grant funding as part of the 2012-2013 InvenTeam initiative. Sixteen teams total comprised of students, teachers and mentors will pursue year-long invention projects that address real-world problems. Now in its 10th year as a national grants program, InvenTeams aims to inspire a new generation of inventors by engaging participants in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning in STEM.

"The gender gap within STEM fields can be attributed, in part, to the need for more female role models in related careers," said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. "Hands-on learning programs that reach young women and men, like Lemelson-MIT's InvenTeam initiative, ensure that we continue to grow our future pool of science and technology leaders and icons."

Proposed by public, private, charter, and home-based school teams from around the country, this year's inspiring InvenTeam projects include the invention of a life jacket for prolonged search and rescue, a bacteria-powered battery and an ozone water purification system. Through the InvenTeam process, students develop leadership, teamwork and technical building skills, while engaging with professionals from industry and academia in their communities as they develop their invention. Through their InvenTeam experiences, Students gain the skills necessary to be competitive and successful in both their education and careers.

"This year's projects, from inventions for environmental sustainability to those for health and safety, show that young Americans are not just motivated to invent, but are committed to improving the lives of others through invention," said Leigh Estabrooks, the Lemelson-MIT Program's invention education officer. "Our goal with InvenTeams is to help inspire both men and women to be future inventors."

Meet the 2012–13 InvenTeams

A respected panel of invention and academic leaders from MIT, the Lemelson-MIT Program, industry and InvenTeam student alumni selected the InvenTeams from a national pool of applicants. The 2012–13 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams and their proposed inventions are:


  • ACTS Home Education Cooperative (Charlottesville, Va.): Wind turbine for traffic airflow capture
  • Beaver Country Day School (Chestnut Hill, Mass.): Automated robotic vehicular independence system
  • Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School (Groton, Conn.): Compost water heating system
  • John P. Stevens High School (Edison, N.J.): Life jacket for prolonged search and rescue
  • Nashua High School North (Nashua, N.H.): Bacteria-powered battery
  • Natick High School (Natick, Mass.): Ice search and rescue remotely-operated vehicle
  • Newton North High School (Newton, Mass.): Pedestrian alert system
  • Sturgis West Charter Public School West (Hyannis, Mass.): Marine mammal rescue transporter
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, Va.): Emotive aid for combating autism


  • LEARN Science and Math Academy (Kansas City, Mo.): Radio frequency identification system for medicine tracking
  • St. Ursula Academy (Toledo, Ohio): Pill dispensing organizational system


  • Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (Austin, Texas): Pressurized produce preserver


  • Colfax High School (Colfax, Calif.): Construction layout tool
  • Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona (Phoenix, Ariz.): Drowning prevention device
  • Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto, Calif.): Solar egg incubator
  • Los Alamitos High School (Los Alamitos, Calif.): Ozone water purification system

In June 2013, the 2012-2013 InvenTeams will showcase their projects at EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program's public, multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit at MIT.

Calling all young inventors

The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam application for the 2013–14 school year is now available. Teams of high school students, teachers and mentors are encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit:

Published in Lemelson-MIT

InventHelp’s Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) is pleased to announce the dates for its 28th annual INPEX® show, June 19-21, 2013. INPEX, America’s Largest Invention Trade Show, features inventors from the United States as well as more than 20 countries. The 2013 show will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

InventHelp’s INPEX is a unique trade show that brings inventors together with industry representatives in one convenient networking forum. The show will also feature private product searches, where inventors can present ideas to large, well-known companies who are looking for new products to add to their existing lines, as well as provide feedback to the inventors about their products. Schroeder and Tremayne, Rubbermaid, Danco, Hampton Direct, Irwin Tools, SkyMall, Plews & Edelmann, Reckitt Benckiser and Elmer’s have already signed on to conduct product searches at INPEX 2013, with more companies coming soon.

The show will again present the INPEX Inventor’s University, a series of seminars, presentations and panel discussions on topics like prototyping, patenting and manufacturing.

“We are very excited to have set the dates for our 28th annual show, and to move the show to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center,” said Nicole Hait, trade show director. “Our show continues to grow, and we look forward to expanding with more inventions and more corporations attending. Corporate America has never been more interested in inventions.”

INPEX is a service of InventHelp, America’s largest invention submission company. If you are an inventor who might be interested in exhibiting at INPEX, prime space is now available. Please visit our website for up-to-date information or call 888-54-INPEX to speak to one of our INPEX account executives. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to exhibit at America’s largest invention trade show.                   

For more information, visit:

Published in INPEX

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new rule that—for the first time in the history of U.S. patent law—allows third parties to submit relevant materials to patent examiners in any given examination. Submission of proposed prior art helps examiners determine whether the innovation in the application is patentable. The new provision, 35 U.S.C. 122(e), was implemented under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) on September 16th and applies to any pending application.

Today, efforts are already underway in the private sector to crowdsource the identification of prior art.  One such initiative, utilizing input from the USPTO, is a newly launched social network known as Ask Patents by Stack Exchange, in which subject-matter experts volunteer to suggest prior art for given applications, as well as to offer their input on the proposed value of those suggestions from others.

“By inviting third party contributions for the first time since the inception of our nation’s intellectual property system, we’re able to expand the scope of review for applications, bolster the library of prior art in key areas like software patents, and advance the administration’s ongoing commitment to transparent processes and open government,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “We encourage our nation’s innovators to assist us as we build a 21st Century intellectual property system based on sound patents that will drive our economy and create jobs.”

The submission by third parties of prior art—the library of published patents, applications, or other publications in a specific technology area—allows the USPTO to tap directly into the U.S. innovation community. Submissions provide a fuller, more exhaustive scope of materials for examiners to review in determining the novelty of a given application. This new mechanism will help ensure that truly novel and non-obvious innovations obtain the intellectual property protection they deserve.

For more information, visit:

Published in USPTO

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a proposal to amend the rules of practice in patent cases to implement the “first-inventor-to-file” provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The first-inventor-to-file provision converts the United States patent system from a “first to invent” system to a first inventor to file system. The first-inventor-to-file provision, which takes effect March 16, 2013, also alters the scope of available prior art to apply against a claimed invention in determining the novelty and obviousness of the claimed invention.

In addition to amending the rules of patent practice, the USPTO is proposing examination guidelines to inform the public and patent examiners of its interpretation of the first-inventor-to-file provision of the AIA. The guidelines likewise are intended to advise the public and patent examiners how the changes introduced by the first-inventor-to-file provision impact the sections of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure pertaining to novelty and obviousness.

“The first-inventor-to-file provision of the America Invents Act, one of its hallmarks, brings greater transparency, objectivity, predictability, and simplicity in patentability determinations,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos. “At the same time, the provision brings the United States closer in harmonizing our patent law with those in other countries around the globe.”

The first-inventor-to-file proposed rules and guidelines published in the Federal Register have a public comment period that runs until October 5, 2012. The USPTO also plans to discuss the proposed rules and guidance at a series of “roadshows” scheduled to occur in Alexandria, Va.; Atlanta, Ga.; Denver, Colo.; Detroit, Mich.; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and New York, N.Y., this September.

Further information about the proposed rules and guidelines may be found in the Federal Register Notice:

Further information about the “roadshows” may be found on the AIA micro-site available at:

Published in USPTO

InventHelp, America’s largest inventor service company, has launched a new website this week to highlight the company’s inventor services and continue to offer resources to inventors.

InventHelp®, known for iconic commercials featuring the prehistoric InventHelp caveman chipping at the wheel, is excited to launch a more user- and inventor-friendly site. “Our site is already known as a resource for inventors, but now it’s easier to use and has a great new look,” said InventHelp® President Robert Susa.

The new website features client inventor stories and testimonial videos, access to blogs and details about InventHelp’s partnerships with organizations like the Electronic Retailing Association. The site also features a section on INPEX®, the largest trade show in the United States for inventors, which InventHelp® sponsors.

Inventors can use the site to locate the closest InventHelp® sales office in the area, as well as read more about the services the company offers. Additionally, there is a section of the site designed specifically for companies that are seeking new products for license or manufacture. Companies interested in seeing clients’ inventions and new products can register on the site for the InventHelp® Data Bank at no charge.

The redesigned website also directs consumers looking to purchase new products to the official InventHelp Store, a website that showcases innovative new products invented by InventHelp clients.         

In business since 1984, InventHelp® is America’s largest inventor service company, with more than 60 sales offices in the U.S., Canada and abroad. InventHelp® also holds INPEX®, America’s Largest Invention Show.

For more information, visit:

Published in InventHelp

Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, held May 19 - 20, 2012 at the San Mateo County Event Center, promises a memorable weekend of creativity, learning, inspiration, and making. From learning about Arduino and 3D printing, to interacting with robots, a life-size electric giraffe and mobile muffins, Maker Faire has it all. In addition to well over 700 Makers exhibiting their amazing creations at the festival, speakers, special events, and other highlights of the weekend include:

  • BrollyFlock: A 32-foot tall installation of a renegade flock of umbrellas, BrollyFlock is fun and inviting for all. BrollyFlock's effects are controlled by an interactive Arduino control system that takes input from the crowd to produce light, shade, mist and fire.

  • Death Defying Figure 8 Pedal Car Races: Showcasing their handmade, unusual pedal powered cars, Bunnyfluffer Cyclecars and the Fun Bike Unicorn Club will compete on a figure eight race track for all to see.

  • Hotshot the Robot: The world's only living robot, HotShot has hands that feel, eyes that see, and a heart that beats. Come meet HotShot for yourself and learn about makes him tick.

  • A Maker Faire favorite, attendees will enjoy hearing from Adam Savage of MythBusters. Adam will be speaking at 11am on Sunday, May 20, in Fiesta Hall.

  • Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of the Arduino Product, will be speaking about the "State of Arduino" on Saturday, May 19 at 3pm on the Center Stage.

  • Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi, speaks on Saturday, May 19 at 1pm, on Raspberry Pi: How a $35 Computer Will Give Students an Appetite for STEM. Parents and educators alike are sure to find this presentation interesting and informative.

  • On Sunday, May 20, at 2pm, Ben Davis, Amy Critchett and Timothy Childs from Illuminate the Arts and Saeed Shahmirzai from Zoon Engineering, will showcase Leo Villareal's "The Bay Lights: 1.5 Miles of Public Art on the Bay Bridge." Learn how 25,000 individually addressable LEDs are programmed to create a unique fine arts experience that so many of us will view on a daily basis!

  • Homegrown Village: Located in the Show Barn, Homegrown Village is a lively celebration of agrarian skills, earth-friendly living, and the sources of good food! Make cheese with urban farmers, learn how to preserve all kinds of foods, and take home your own hand-made butter.

Maker Faire Goldsmith Sponsor, GE will be featuring GE Garages. GE Garages is a skill-building center powered by TechShop and developed in partnership with Skillshare, Quirky, Make and Inventables to serve as an advanced manufacturing lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and every day Americans. The innovation and manufacturing center aims to spark interest and engagement for modern making from prototyping inventions to modern manufacturing-based technologies through hands-on experiences with 3D printers, a CNC Mill, laser cutter, injection molder and through special classes in the space. Come learn about the future of making and get to make something yourself!

TechShop, another Goldsmith Sponsor, is a membership-based open access workshop and prototyping studio. Often referred to as "a gym for makers," TechShop provides members with access to a world class workspace, tools, machines, instruction, mentoring, and a community of fellow makers. "For the first time in human history we're truly democratizing access to the tools of innovation. And we're doing it for about the cost of a bad coffee addiction," said Mark Hatch, TechShop's CEO. Hear Mark speak about this topic on Saturday, May 19, at 3:30 pm on Center Stage.

Exhibiting at every Bay Area Maker Faire since the inaugural event in 2006, TechShop has become a perennial favorite with makers and attendees. Located in Expo Hall, TechShop will showcase TechShop makers working on their latest innovations (including Andy Filo and his jetpack), and a hands-on make-and-take activity area. TechShop will also be offering Maker Faire exclusive membership deals, so visit the TechShop booth and join thousands of makers who call TechShop home.

For more information, visit:

Published in Maker Faire

Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK), a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, is teaming with “Everyday Edisons,” the Emmy and Telly award-winning TV series on American innovation, to supply its design software for the series showcasing product invention.

Season 4 of “Everyday Edisons” follows 11 modern inventors through the process of creating their latest inventions. The series goes behind the scenes in the product development process, from initial concept design to finished product manufacturing. The “Everyday Edisons” Design team helps to create each of the inventor’s products, showing viewers along the way what it takes to bring an idea to life for consumers. “Everyday Edisons” is distributed by American Public Television, which began feeding the series to nationwide public television stations on April 7.

“I am thrilled to work with this season’s inventors and help deliver their visions to the marketplace,” said Daniel Bizzell, senior vice president, Design, “Everyday Edisons.” “Autodesk Product Design Suite software provides me the speed and flexibility to make quick changes to products as they are developed, which is key as these concepts go through quite a few iterations before being finalized.”

Autodesk design, visualization and simulation technology helps save time and money by helping designers and manufacturers throughout the design process, so they can validate designs before they are built.

Specifically, the Autodesk Product Design Suite featuring Autodesk Inventor software helps drive innovation with integrated, discipline-specific tools and workflows built for Digital Prototyping.

”American inventors that turn great ideas into reality can be found in some truly unexpected places,” said Buzz Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “We’re thrilled to see our technology applied with ingenuity in the new season of ‘Everyday Edisons.’”

The ‘Everyday Edisons’ featured on Season 4 were selected from thousands to have their inventions developed by the “Everyday Edisons” team and turned into dynamic retail-ready products. Inventions featured on Season 4 of the show span a broad range of product categories, from medical solutions to household innovations and fitness devices.

“Everyday Edisons” premiered on PBS in 2007 to educate viewers about what it takes to transform an idea into a product sold on store shelves. “Everyday Edisons” features ordinary people as their original ideas are transformed into retail-ready products. The series’ name honors Thomas Edison, the famed American inventor, who with virtually no formal education, was able to secure more than 1,000 patents. “Everyday Edisons” is produced by Everyday Edisons, LLC. in Charlotte, N.C.

For more information about the series, visit:

Published in Autodesk

Innovators live at all levels of organizations, and often run companies of their own. These are the brilliant minds that NineSigma taps to solve the biggest, most perplexing challenges in the world. In addition, as more businesses commit to innovation as a growth strategy, new doors are opening for entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers who can provide technologies, solutions, and ideas they need to grow faster.

“Corporations around the world are racing to develop breakthrough new products and gain a competitive advantage. They’re looking for new technologies from the outside to speed the process,” said Andy Zynga, CEO of NineSigma, the leading innovation partner to organizations worldwide. “This drive to innovate is providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to be matched with organizations from other geographic regions or industries who have an immediate need for their solutions, and are willing to pay for them.”

This matchmaking is at the heart of open innovation, which involves “connecting organizations with the world” to accelerate the new solution development. Entrepreneurs are climbing onto the open innovation bandwagon to take advantage of new business development opportunities associated with this increasingly popular strategy. Indeed, a recent NineSigma survey shows that solution providers consider revenue growth to be the number-one benefit of open innovation.

For these innovators, NineSigma offers the chance to join the largest global innovation network of its kind, spanning 135 countries and diverse scientific and technology areas, from biotechnology to food science, and from energy to manufacturing. Solution providers register to be part of the network at no charge, and benefit from access to organizations with an explicit need for their technologies and solutions, and a transparent process that ensures protection of their intellectual property.

For organizations tapping into the rich resource of solution providers, there are rewards as well. NineSigma’s recent survey showed the leading benefits of open innovation to solution seekers are minimizing risk and accelerating time to market. NineSigma provides services to these organizations every step of the way to maximize the potential value of every collaboration - from problem definition, to broadly accessing innovators with relevant expertise, to filtering proposed solutions for quality and fit, to supporting successful negotiations between seekers and providers. The company also provides a broad range of other services to help them develop the people, corporate culture, and infrastructure that will enable a successful innovation strategy.

NineSigma will roll out a new program in the next two months for members of its dynamic innovation community. Solution providers who are interested in becoming part of the company’s global network can learn more at:

Published in NineSigma

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the nation's largest and most prominent youth development organizations, and Edison Nation®, an idea-to-shelf product developer, today announced the Boy Scouts of America Innovation Challenge. Open to all boys and girls age 7 to 21 years, the challenge does not require that the young person be associated with the BSA to submit ideas or be selected as an "inventor."

The Innovation Challenge is looking to today's kids to develop tomorrow's products. Whether the invention solves a problem around the house, the yard or at school; helps you take better care of your pet; or creates a new way to learn or play, the BSA and Edison Nation® goal is to inspire young minds to submit creative, new product ideas.

"The ingenuity of today's youth is incredible," said Edison Nation® CEO Louis Foreman. "By partnering with the Boy Scouts of America for this Innovation Challenge, we are able to tap the talent and imagination of tomorrow's leaders. I'm looking forward to seeing the innovations that will result from this challenge and the impact they will have on these individuals."

Edison Nation® will invest up to $1 million to develop the selected ideas and help bring them to market. Selected inventors will receive royalties for life from the sale of their products, be named the "inventor" on any issued patents, and have an opportunity to appear on the award-winning Everyday Edisons television series.

"The Challenge reflects on the BSA's mission to prepare youth in America to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders," said David Harkins, associate director, Retail Business Development, Boy Scouts of America. "By encouraging youth's creativity, young inventors are setting the path for the future."

Edison Nation works with everyday people and inventors to turn their extraordinary ideas into products sold by major retailers. It is free to join the Edison Nation® online community and costs just $25 to submit an idea ($10 for current Boy Scouts of America members who submit an idea as a part of this challenge). Because the Boy Scouts of America Innovation Challenge is for youth inventors, a parent or guardian is required to be involved during the submission process for those under the age of 18.

The Boy Scouts of America Innovation Challenge ends on Monday, May 7, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

To learn more about the challenge or to submit an idea, visit:

Published in Edison Nation

Media Corp has become the official sponsor of the ICKC National inventors contest held in Kansas City. The ICKC contest was created by the Ewing Kauffman Foundation and is a nonprofit organization with over 1,000 members. Media Corp will offer a $20,000 testing package to the winner of the contest.

The ICKC National Invention Contest is looking for inventors to submit their inventions for a chance to win a commercial produced for Direct Response television (DR-TV). The complete package which includes a TV spot to be aired in select markets for product testing is a prize worth $20,000. If successful, the winners invention would generate thousands of dollars in royalties for the inventor.

Ed Waldberg, President of Media Corp. says "We are pleased to be the primary sponsor of the ICKC National Invention Contest. This contest provides inventors of all types to have a chance to win a DR-TV spot that could literally change their lives if the product is a success. DR-TV is still the best and quickest way to get your product to market. In our industry the right product and speed to market is the key to success."

Typically an inventor will spend in excess of $10,000 to produce and air a commercial. "Going it alone is expensive and time consuming. The ICKC National Invention Contest is an opportunity like none other," says Carrie Jeske, Marketing Director for the Inventors Club of Kansas City. When inventors submit products to the ICKC National Invention Contest they should consider the seven most important criteria for DR-TV product success:

1. Does your product have a unique selling advantage? In other words how does your product stand apart and does it have a "wow" factor?
2. Problem/Solution/Benefit Orientation. The bigger or more common the problem solved?the more the product sells!
3. Does your product appeal to the masses? TV reaches a very broad demographic, if your product appeals to the masses you have a winner.
4. Product Pricing. Typically products under $100 are considered good short-form DRTV items.
5. How demonstrable is your product? The better the visual demonstration of the product the greater the chance for success.
6. Is your product believable? Will people believe your product will work?
7. Is your product easily explained? Consumers must be able to understand what the product does in a relatively short amount of time.

If you have an invention and you think that it meets the seven criteria to make a DR-TV winner then submit your product today at:

Published in Media Corp

FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), announced that participants on high school FIRST teams in North America can now compete for the chance to win recognition toward patenting a proposed invention in the newly created FIRST® Future Innovator Award presented by the Abbott Fund, the non-profit foundation of the global health care company, Abbott. The award provides FIRST ® Robotics Competition (FRC®) and FIRST ® Tech Challenge (FTC®) participants an opportunity to submit solutions to solve complex engineering challenges facing the world today, similar to the challenges set forth by the National Academy of Engineer’s Grand Challenges.

The FIRST Future Innovator Award will be judged by a panel of leading experts in the fields of engineering and patent law, including Dean Kamen, President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation and inventor of the Segway Personal Transporter, and representatives from Abbott and others, to determine the winning idea.

The winner will be announced during the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri on April 26-28, 2012. The winning student will be granted an award presented by the Abbott Fund and also will have the opportunity to meet with a venture capital firm for a real-world critique and discussion of their invention and possible business application.

“The Abbott Fund and FIRST chose to focus this inaugural award on solving complex engineering problems — such as those set forth by the National Academy of Engineer’s Grand Challenges, because they are real-world issues that require innovative solutions. I have learned to never underestimate the brilliance of the students at FIRST, and I am sure their solutions to these problems, from restoring and improving our urban infrastructure to providing access to clean water and air, will delight and inspire the panel of judges,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation, adding, “FIRST thanks the Abbott Fund for bringing to the forefront the kind of issues these kids will face in their own futures, and for joining me in the urgent need to train the next generation of innovators.”

“The Abbott Fund is proud to provide this opportunity to the innovative young people who are learning and solving relevant challenges through the exceptional FIRST program,” said Cindy Schwab, vice president, the Abbott Fund, adding, “By highlighting the achievements of these young inventors we hope to foster a better understanding of the importance of science and engineering in our lives.”

FIRST students are encouraged to make their submission as complete and as close to an official patent process as possible, including detailed written descriptions of the invention, photographs, and videos to capture their ideas. There is no limit to the number of submissions a student may make. Students' submissions received by the deadline will then vie to become the overall winner to be announced at the FIRST Championship event in St. Louis.

“Innovation drives our economy and our way of life,” said Jon Dudas, FIRST President and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, adding “FIRST students are natural innovators and inventors. The FIRST Future Innovator Award gives them the same opportunities as other great inventors, including the chance to present their ideas to venture capitalists. The winning idea will benefit from, and have the advantage of, decades of experience from professionals who do this for a living. These folks help bring ideas to life, building careers, building companies and building industries. This is an incredible opportunity for a student today.”

The FIRST Future Innovator Award competition is open to all North American FRC and FTC teams officially registered for the current 2011/2012 FIRST competition season. The portal for student submissions will open in February and the deadline for submissions will be noon, March 16, 2012, Eastern Standard Time.

For more information, visit:

Published in FIRST

InventHelp’s Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) is pleased to announce the dates for the 27th annual INPEX® Show, June 13-15, 2012. INPEX®, America’s largest Invention Trade Show, features inventors from the United States as well as more than 20 countries. The show will be held at the Monroeville Convention Center, just fifteen minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

InventHelp’s INPEX® is a unique trade show that showcases numerous inventions, new products and innovations that are available to license, market or manufacture. This trade show brings inventors together with industry representatives in one convenient networking forum. INPEX® will again present the INPEX® Inventor’s University™, a series of seminars, presentations and panel discussions on topics like prototyping, patenting and manufacturing. The show will also feature private product searches, where inventors can present ideas to large, well-known companies who are looking for new products to add to their existing lines, as well as provide feedback to the inventors about their products.

“We are very excited to have set the dates for our 27th annual show,” said Nicole Hait, trade show director. “This past year, hundreds of companies utilized INPEX® as a venue to look for new and innovative products to add to their existing product lines. Corporate America has never been more interested in inventions.”

For more information, visit:

Published in INPEX

Ever wonder where all those fantastic, odd and oddly useful consumer gadgets come from? Browsing the aisles of Target, K-Mart, Walmart and other major retailers, one marvels at the scope of imagination when it comes to products for the home, office, workshop and garage. For inventors and those who have big ideas of their own, home shopping shows and big-box stores are playgrounds of potential.

Now comes "Inventionland," a new reality-based TV special scheduled to debut on HISTORY on Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Shot on location, the Pittsburgh-based Inventionland is the headquarters for Davison Design & Development, founded by George Davison, the show's star.

"Inventionland" delves into the sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes exhilarating real-life drama of the high-risk world of inventing. The show follows three inventors as their respective inventions take shape. From the thrill of coming up with a big idea to the challenges involved in turning it into a functioning prototype and then into a money-making proposition or a trip back to the drawing board, it all begins and ends at Inventionland, America's largest invention factory.

* Stuck holding onto the umbrella during a breezy day at the beach while watching his young daughters have fun in the ocean without him, inventor Milton Branch envisions a beach cooler that firmly anchors an umbrella even on the windiest days. Find out if the project flies.

* Kurt Whiteside and 5,000 of his car mechanic customers around the country anxiously await the next generation of the Hover Creeper. But first this miracle of physics must pass the muster of NASCAR mechanic "Big A," who ultimately says, "Every fat guy should have one of these." Then Inventionland designers face a last-minute, nail-biting prototyping problem that requires Mr. D.'s expertise as an important celebration looms.

* Taking a cue from the original boom boxes of the 1980s, twenty-year-old Jason Ramsey has the idea for a new surround-sound, six-speaker wearable belt that will enable him to share music the old-fashioned way with his skateboarding friends at the park. There's only one problem, and it's a doozy.

Intertwined with these compelling invention stories are those of Inventionland's own creative captain, "Mr. D."—the one and only George Davison—and an eccentric cast of designers and builders. Jason Rogge configures each design team, balancing personalities and talent for what an invention needs; he's also the master deadline enforcer. Jarrod Campbell, the lone wolf known for his quick temper, never hesitates to speak his mind. The quintessential super-geek Clay Carlino is nonetheless a snob at heart. Lucky Schwartz, ever the skeptic, plays devil's advocate at every turn. Outdoorsman Curtis Wierman is part Grizzly Adams and part Turtle from Entourage. Tensions may flare, creative minds do clash and emotions run high, but in the end, the cast of characters' idiosyncrasies work in their favor, and the new inventions come to life.

George Davison says from Inventionland, "Whether we invent new products to ward off outside competition, or to fix a pressing problem, or to bring pleasure into new realms, there is a ravenous appetite among consumers for the new and innovative. And we do it all at Inventionland."

"Inventionland" is produced for HISTORY by JWM Productions. The producer is Jonathan Wyche. Patrice Shannon is the editor and the online editor is Brian Newell.

For more information, visit:

Published in HISTORY

One of 20,000 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) teams around the world will win an investment prize of up to $250,000 as winner of the 2012 FLL Global Innovation Award. The award’s new “Go-To-Market Sponsor,” Edison Nation, has offered to bring the winning idea through the same product development process showcased in their Emmy® award-winning PBS television show Everyday Edisons.

"Through our platform, we're able to work with all kinds of independent inventors to help make their ideas a reality," said CEO of Edison Nation, Louis Foreman. "Our Edison Nation team is excited to work with these young FLL inventors and to leverage our industry capabilities to get their innovations to market.”

Now in its second consecutive year, the FLL Global Innovation Award encourages, celebrates, and supports youth innovation by offering 200,000 FIRST LEGO League participants the chance to compete and win support for their research projects. At the end of the FIRST LEGO League competition season, teams will be invited to submit their research ideas between January 19 and March 1, 2012, to the FLL Global Innovation Award website. A judging panel of industry leaders will review the submissions. One winning team and two runner-up winners will be named at the FLL Global Innovation Award ceremony on June 19 at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va.

“It is innovation that changes the way we live and makes life better and more exciting,” said Founder of FIRST Dean Kamen, adding, “The FLL Global Innovation Award celebrates and encourages innovation by asking kids to think about improving their own future.”

FIRST LEGO League is one of four programs offered by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit that inspires an appreciation of science and technology in young people. FIRST issues an annual challenge to FLL teams on a real-world scientific topic comprised of three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL Core Values. This season’s theme is food safety.

For more information, visit:

Published in FIRST

As Seen On TV, Inc., the parent company of TVGoods, Inc., held a Pitch Tank event in Tampa, FL over the weekend of December 10th and 11th.

Pitch Tank is marketed to entrepreneurs and inventors as a platform to introduce and demonstrate businesses and/or products to the As Seen On TV, Inc. team, including Kevin Harrington. The event includes real training from Kevin Harrington on how to take your business or product from an idea to reality, including information on development and marketing. Covered topics include mass marketing, branding, intellectual property, manufacturing, ecommerce, web design, and all the latest marketing trends and strategies. Distribution channel strategy is also a key area of focus, including television shopping channels, infomercials and the Internet.

In addition to assisting and training the participants, the As Seen On TV, Inc. team was exposed to several businesses and products that it will continue to evaluate and monitor, with the hopes of partnering in the future. The company looks forward to hosting its next Pitch Tank event in a different city within the next 90 days.

"Pitch Tank has already turned into a profitable department for As Seen On TV, Inc. The company is able to use its expertise to be able to monetize the thousands of inventor submissions we get annually," said Steve Rogai, CEO of As Seen On TV, Inc.

"Last weekend's Pitch Tank event surpassed our expectations. It was successful for both the entrepreneurs and inventors in attendance and our company. There are tons of amazing people in this world, people with a lot of talent, skill and great ideas. Unfortunately, many of these amazing people struggle because they have no direction. I get approached daily from people with great ideas, and many have done a lot of work on those ideas. People show me prototypes, market research data and some have even begun selling their products or ideas. Every one of these people have a few pieces of the puzzle, but the one thing that they are all lacking is knowledge on how to complete the puzzle; and Pitch Tank gives them that knowledge," said Kevin Harrington, Chairman of As Seen On TV, Inc.

As Seen On TV, Inc. is the parent company of TVGoods, Inc., a direct response marketing company. We identify, develop and market consumer products for global distribution via TV, Internet and retail channels. TVGoods was established by Kevin Harrington, a pioneer of direct response television.

Published in As Seen On TV

For centuries, America has been an engine of invention and innovation, creating the technology that has shaped world history.  From Ben Franklin to the Wright Brothers; Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs, this country has been a consistent generator of revolutionary ideas.  Today many Americans, in basements and backyards around the country, are trying to turn their dreams into the next big thing.

INVENTION USA, a new HISTORY series that premieres Friday, December 9, 10pm ET/9C follows Reichart Von Wolfshield and Dr. Garrett Lisi, innovators and scientists with ties to investors, as they go in search of the next breakthrough invention. Whether they're traveling the country to visit backyard inventors at home, or meeting inventors at their Los Angeles testing lab, Reichart and Garrett will put prototypes to the test and give a tough, no-nonsense evaluation of the invention’s potential.  If they like what they see, it can mean the Inventor will get the investment they'll need to help bring the product to market. In every case, the stakes are high: a dream is on the line, and the next idea they see could change someone's life...and even the world.

Their adventures are chronicled in INVENTION USA which celebrates not only America’s knack for invention but also its entrepreneurial spirit. As Garrett and Reichart see it, one is meaningless without the other – and these two know quite a lot about bringing pioneering new products to the marketplace. As Garrett and Reichart travel the country meeting with inventors, if they agree that there’s revenue potential in an invention, they will use their considerable collective experience – in consumer products, marketing, science and design – and make that invention come to life, and ultimately to the marketplace.

INVENTION USA doesn’t focus solely on the inventions. The 6-episode series also takes a fascinating look at the inventors themselves, some of whom have sacrificed it all, including money and marriages, to make their creations a reality. Some inventions are brilliant, some batty; and some simply both! There’s “The Fireball,” a non-lethal weapon that uses modified paintballs to deter wild animal attacks, a product the inventor claims was inspired by his run-in with Bigfoot. There’s the “Phone Glove,” a cell phone that’s not exactly hands free, given that it’s built into a winter glove.  Also Easy Down, a potential life-saving invention inspired by the events on 9/11; and “Roscoe: One Bad Bird” – a new “weapon” in the battle to keep pesky pigeons away.  Which of these and many other items will meet with Garrett and Reichart’s approval? The stakes couldn’t be higher for the inventors.

Garrett is an American theoretical physicist best known for "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything," a unified field theory combining particle physics with Einstein's theory of gravitation. Born in Los Angeles and raised in San Diego, California, Lisi received bachelor’s degrees with highest honors in physics and mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in physics from the University of California, San Diego. After moving to the island of Maui, Lisi balanced his efforts between physics research, scientific consulting, and surfing. His work has been featured in many academic, popular, and online publications.

Reichart has produced over 120 consumer products and pioneered dozens of technologies over the past 30 years including one of the first multiplayer video games, co-designed the first set-top computer, created Disney's Animation Studio software, designed slot machines for Vegas, Toys for Mattel, and weapons for the Defense Department. From their Laboratory nicknamed "The Barn" Garrett and Reichart evaluate and test an array of newly developed prototypes for the series.

INVENTION USA is produced for HISTORY by T Group Productions. Matthew Ginsburg and Charles Nordlander are Executive Producers for HISTORY. Executive Producers for T Group are Jenny Daly, Gunnar Wetterberg and Jason Sklaber.

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Published in HISTORY

The World Future Society, a nonprofit scientific and educational organization, has issued a call for inventions, innovations, and breakthrough startups to showcase in the second annual Futurists: BetaLaunch expo in Toronto next July. Futurists: BetaLaunch (or F:BL) serves as a technology petting zoo where engineers, designers and others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for the Society's annual conference.

The inaugural F:BL event in 2011, co-produced with 1x57 and sponsored by Disruptathon, was a huge success. "Futurists presented Bold Visions at the BetaLaunch expo in Vancouver," said Eric Mack of BYTE magazine, published by Information Week. The conference was also covered in the Vancouver Sun and by CBC Canada, MarketWatch, and Xinhua News, the largest news agency in the People's Republic of China.

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2012: Dream. Design. Develop. Deliver, the annual conference of the World Future Society, at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 27-29, 2012.

All inventors selected to present their inventions at F:BL will receive a complimentary registration to the WorldFuture 2012 conference ($750 value). Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor.

For more information, visit:

Published in World Future Society

What does it take to inspire innovation in 21st century organizations?  What are the qualities of a successful innovator?

These are important questions businesses should ask following the dramatic economic downturns experienced in the first decade of the 21st century.  Heralded by many as the fourth economic revolution in human history, we find ourselves standing awkwardly in the Innovation Age.

Following the epoch shifts of the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age, and the Information Age, the Innovation Age commenced just a few years after the turn of the millennium – the same window of time that Sarah Miller Caldicott awakened to an extraordinary innovation twist in her own family tree.

After learning at age 6 that she was a great-grandniece of Thomas Edision, Sarah Miller Caldicott was determined to learn how Edison’s timeless innovation success could teach us to become more effective innovators today.

In conjunction with her speech at the November 4th 2011 TEDx Peachtree Conference in Atlanta, Georgia - Sarah Miller Caldicott will discuss her newly released e-book, Inventing the Future: What Would Thomas Edison Be Doing Today? She explains how Thomas Edison pioneered six industries in less than 35 years through methods Caldicott reveals as Edison’s Five Competencies of Innovation™. These five competencies reveal how Edison created billions of dollars in market value in his lifetime. The core industries Edison created still remain today.

Thomas Edison holds over a thousand patents in his name including the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and motion picture camera. He is considered one of the world's most prolific inventors with a work ethic and vision for the future that changed the modern world. Imagine what Edison would be possible of if given the current advances in technology.

Inventing the Future examines how Edison would innovate today and reveals steps modern readers can take to utilize his methods. Caldicott offers six proactive concepts highlighting what Edison would be working on in the 21st century. Each concept offers an expansion of actual inventions Edison commercialized in his lifetime. Sarah Miller Caldicott provides a well- researched, intriguing look at how Edison would address the following areas:

* Sound and entertainment
* Human Health
* Alternative Energy
* Software and 3D imaging
* Human Intelligence
* Research and Development

Inventing the Future stimulates an individual's ability to imagine what's possible in the future regardless of obstacles or circumstances. It also includes steps anyone can take to start thinking like an innovator, and offers a hands-on view of how creativity and risk-taking come together to design powerful concepts that create new markets.

Never before has there been a time when innovation was more imperative. As nations stand stymied by the challenges of global warming, dwindling fossil fuel reserves, expanding populations, and deep national indebtedness, Caldicott’s e-book provides leaders with the knowledge and inspiration to invent the future, today.

For more information, visit: or

Published in Wiley

Today, the Lemelson-MIT Program announced the 16 teams of students, teachers and mentors selected to participate in the 2011–2012 InvenTeam initiative. The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative inspires a new generation of inventors by engaging students in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Each InvenTeam will receive up to $10,000 in grant funding to create and pursue a yearlong invention project addressing a real-world problem. This year’s projects include a natural disaster emergency relief filtration station, mechanical assist stair climber, and a portable medical support system. The diverse group of teams – including a KIPP charter school, Boy Scout troop,  4 – H Club, as well as private and public high schools – will leverage their distinct experiences and skills to develop their invention prototypes over the next eight months.

According to a recent independent survey conducted by the Lemelson-MIT Program, 45 percent of InvenTeam alumni are currently studying engineering in higher education versus 15 percent of the comparison group of young adults 17-25 years of age.1 InvenTeam alumni also showed greater involvement in academic extracurricular activities in high school (57 percent compared to 44 percent of young adults), and were more likely to hold a leadership role in an academic extracurricular activity (46 percent). Ninety-one percent of InvenTeam alumni were influenced to pursue STEM-interests by their high school activities, specifically, invention, robotics and engineering clubs.

InvenTeams helps prepare high school students to accept challenges and pursue their STEM-inspired career goals. In addition to developing creativity and teamwork skills, InvenTeams are encouraged to engage with professionals from industry and academia in their communities. Through such real-world learning opportunities, students gain the skills needed to be competitive, not only in education but in business. Motivated by these experiences, InvenTeam members will have the ability to contribute to the global economy through their continued desire to innovate.

“Providing students with multi-disciplinary experiences through invention has always been a critical aspect of the InvenTeam initiative,” said Leigh Estabrooks, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s invention education officer. “The impact of InvenTeams goes far beyond each team’s project and school year experience. It can be life changing for some, as peer-reviewed studies have shown leadership in high school extracurricular activities leads to higher wages for young adults.”

In June 2012, the teams will showcase their projects at EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s public, multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit, at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. In addition to the new teams, grants of up to $2,000 are awarded to select InvenTeams from last year to continue their projects and establish sustainable invention programs in their communities.

Introducing the 2011–2012 InvenTeams

A respected panel of innovation leaders from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Lemelson-MIT Program, and industry selected the InvenTeams from a national pool of applicants. The 2011–2012 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams and their proposed inventions are:


* Bergen County Academies (Hackensack, N.J.): E-waste power generator
* Boy Scout Troop 703 (Brevard, N.C.): Ergonomic bariatric rescue system
* Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County/4–H Club (Westport, N.Y.): Bio-sand water filter
* Eastern Regional High School (Voorhees, N.J.): Ultraviolet water filtration and storage device
* Landmark School (Prides Crossing, Mass.): Desalination drip irrigation system
* Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.): Gray water electricity generator
* S.S. Seward Institute (Florida, N.Y.): Portable solar-powered autoclave for sterility


* Troy High School (Troy, Mich.): Mechanically assist stair climber
* Williamston High School (Williamston, Mich.): Offshore rip current alert system


* Clear Lake High School (Houston, Texas): Portable medical support system
* East Central High School (Hurley, Miss.): Solar dry heat sterilizer
* KIPP Houston High School (Houston, Texas): Air pollution absorbing paint
* Northeast High School (Oakland Park, Fla.): Natural disaster emergency relief filtration station


* Bishop Kelly High School (Boise, Idaho.): Portable assistive writing device with magnetic damping
* The Harker School (San Jose, Calif.): Aquatic thermoelectric generator
* Lynden High School (Lynden, Wash.): Self-balancing recumbent trike

Calling all Future Innovators

The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam application for the 2012–2013 school year is now available at: Teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors are encouraged to apply

Published in Lemelson-MIT

“First to file” is not working out for small businesses in Canada, and the UK’s patent system is “broken”. The EU, which also operates under first to file, declared an “innovation emergency”. Questions remain as to why the US would change its patent law to a first to file system to harmonize with other countries that lack the innovation potential that America currently has. It may well add up to major obstacles for future small business start-ups, and hinder job growth. “While there may be pros and cons to this act, we do know from other countries that first to file does not favor small business, and we have an 18-month window to get our (IP) intellectual property protected before first to file becomes law. And the window may be even shorter than that, because corporate inventors filing under the new act can claim protection if they publicly disclosed their idea up to 12 months prior to their patent filing. So says Mark McKitrick and Kim Sena, authors of a new invention workbook titled “The Complete Guide to Inexpensive Ideaing”.

“With the impending first to file law favoring big business, and the world’s playing field shrinking, I cannot imagine why anyone would not be rushing to file patents on existing ideas, or thinking of new ideas and filing,” stated Mr. McKitrick. “Patents filed now will fall under the existing first to invent rules, which are advantageous to small business inventors. We make provisional patent filing easy, affordable, and understandable with our new book.” Mr. McKitrick adds that when the new patent law goes into effect, large corporations will rush to file ideas that aren’t even fully developed. “There will be cases where corporations will file three, four, or more patents on the way to developing an entire concept. They can easily afford to do this. The typical person with an idea can now file multiple patent applications by utilizing our new workbook. This allows the person to lay claim to their idea, even if they don’t plan to develop it right away. Our book helps to level the playing field.”

Mr. McKitrick and Dr. Sena have written “The Complete Guide to Inexpensive Ideaing”. This book offers a complete inventor’s guide from the “aha” moment of product conception through the entire process of development of the new idea, and is meant for people from all walks of life with any type of idea. Included are invaluable proprietary templates for writing provisional patents, business plans, and product brochures. The easy-to-follow “Ideaing” guidebook will also, among many other benefits, help the inventor determine if their idea is worth pursuing before they pour money into it.

The authors, who have enjoyed many successes (and learned many expensive and character-building lessons) along their respective paths, will save readers hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars with their experience and suggestions. The reader will learn about patent and market research, writing their patent, developing their product, writing a business plan, finding angel and venture capital, and much more. Just as importantly, they will learn when to consult specialists (patent attorneys, prototype experts, etc.). This book will show inventors what and what not to do themselves, and how to make their time spent with specialists more productive (and therefore less expensive).

“Our goal, utilizing our years of experience in the idea development process, is to empower people in all walks of life with the necessary tools that can make them successful,” states Dr. Sena, “and our templates save a tremendous amount of time and money. Best of all, people will look and feel like an experienced inventor, regardless of their walk in life”.

For more information, visit:

Published in Mark McKitrick

InventSAI, a company that specializes in counseling individual inventors and entrepreneurs, offers tips on how to avoid common patent application mistakes. The America Invents Act will bring notable changes to the patent application process in America for the foreseeable future. Most notably, the patent reform will change America from a “first-to-invent” country to a “first-to-file” country meaning that it is now basically a race to the patent office. Opponents to the Act fear that the new bill will overwhelmingly favor big businesses over small businesses and individual inventors. Their reasoning is that the “first-to-file” system makes it easier on large corporations with deep pockets who are not concerned with excessive legal costs.

Because of budget constraints on individuals and small businesses, an argument exists that this new law will see a surge of poorly written, low cost “do-it-yourself” Provisional Patent Applications on sites such as Legal Zoom where you are not required to receive the help of a licensed patent professional. This is similar to going to the plate in the major leagues without ever seeing a game or holding a bat before. There will be many unintended and unfortunate consequences as a result of the America Invents Act being passed into legislation. Only time will tell how the patent reform will affect small businesses, entrepreneurs, and everyday basement tinkerers with low budgets and little experience with intellectual property law.

“People can claim virtually anything when filing a provisional application, such as time machines and flying cars without any description of how they work,” warns Bob Montgomery, President of InventSAI. “Getting in line first still does not give you priority rights unless you can adequately describe how the invention works. Many inventors are not aware of this and can be misled into thinking they have something of value – when they do not.”

An internet search for provisional patent or patent application will reveal a multitude of companies that seemingly sprung up overnight offering low cost patent pending status in as little as 15 minutes. While an inventor can achieve patent pending status in a short period of time, many inventors are not aware that these expire within 12 months and that the protection that is afforded them is worth virtually nothing without technical disclosure as to how the invention can be made and used.

“It is easy to see why an inventor would want to rush into filing a patent with the passing of this bill,” says Garvin Putt, Development Director of InventSAI, “however, inventors need to be forewarned before diving right into their application.”

InventSAI cautions individual inventors on common patent application mistakes in light of the newly passed America Invents Act:

1.    Seek a Professional You Trust. Always seek the guidance of experienced professionals before paying for or submitting your invention online to get a patent-pending status.
2.    Never “Go It Alone.” Intellectual Property has many nuances that only a licensed patent professional is prepared to handle for inventors. One mistake in the patent process could cause an individual years of hard work to go down the drain.
3.    Be Realistic. If anything sounds too good to be true, turn the other way. The road from idea to patent to a product in stores is a process that takes time, costs money, and has considerable risks.
4.    Invent What You Know. It is always best to focus on an area where you already have experience and know how.
5.    Keep It A Secret. Keep your invention idea confidential and be especially cautious of submitting to sites that will use a social network to review your invention. Public disclosure of your invention starts the ticking time clock on the one year rule of obtaining patent protection.

InventSAI, part of the Montgomery IP Associates Group, is a veteran invention consulting firm focused on assisting small businesses, individual inventors, and entrepreneurs. With access to a patent and engineering law firm, Montgomery Patent & Design, and full service marketing agency, Ad-Gen, InventSAI is uniquely positioned to help inventors in all stages of bringing invention ideas to life. Inventors can find assistance whether they need help protecting their idea with a patent, developing their idea with engineering, and/ or marketing their idea to get it on store shelves.

For more information, visit:

Published in InventSAI

This book offers a complete inventor’s guide from the “aha” moment through the entire process of development of a new idea, and is targeted at inventors and entrepreneurs of any type of product. Everyone has good ideas, and this easy-to-follow guidebook will, among many other benefits, help them determine if their idea is worth pursuing before they pour money into it.

“Our goal is to empower people in all walks of life, unemployed or employed, with the necessary tools that can make them successful,” stated Mark McKitrick. Co-author Dr. Kim Sena states that their proprietary included patent template allows the user to professionally complete their own patent for the cost of the government filing fee of $110.00.

The book is loaded with real life experiences and can help readers avoid the many pitfalls that occur in the field of inventing. The guide offers step by step instructions, along with timing triggers, and several business tools that include; a patent template, business plan template, confidential disclosure agreement, and a brochure template, all of which are offered in electronic and in written form.

In addition to the guide, the book uniquely includes support mechanisms for every phase of the inventor’s product development, including design, prototype development, local and international procurement, and venture capital procurement.

“For years people have said I should write a book so I can help everyone”, states McKitrick. “We know the success rate for new products is less than 10%, and we can improve those odds dramatically by helping inventors think rationally. We have made mistakes over the years that have ultimately led to success, albeit the hard way, and this book will hopefully steer others away from making the same mistakes.”

Joe Finkler, President and co-founder of Grand Rapids (MI) Inventors Club, says that he is excited to see this step by step guide as inventors are always looking for help when they get stuck. This guide is an awesome tool with value that far exceeds the cost of $129.00, and I am going to recommend it to everyone.

“The Complete Guide to Inexpensive Ideaing” is available at all fine bookstores, and electronically at:

Published in Mark McKitrick

Ford and TechShop have announced that Allen Park, Mich., is the home of TechShop Detroit, the communal fabrication studio where everyday inventors, from backyard tinkerers to tech-savvy engineers, can come and create their very-own homegrown innovations.

Set to open in Allen Park, Mich., TechShop Detroit is the culmination of a year's worth of collaboration between Ford and TechShop, the world's first and largest membership-based do-it-yourself (DIY) workshop enterprise that also has locations in California and North Carolina.

Ford is the first automaker to work with TechShop to open one of its centers, which offer creative minds of all kinds affordable access to tools, machinery and even "dream coaches" so they can design and develop prototypes of their latest inventions, both automotive and otherwise.

"We are excited to see what started as a simple idea and conversation between Ford and TechShop take physical form so quickly," said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, the domestic auto industry's only internal intellectual property management and licensing group. "We want this space to inspire all inventive individuals and communities in and around Detroit to innovate and create."

Ford and TechShop first met up in spring 2010 at the largest DIY showcase, Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., where Ford was invited to display an open innovation app creation project that company researchers developed with University of Michigan students. That gathering helped ignite the duo's idea for TechShop Detroit, which was announced only a year ago at the first Maker Faire Detroit.  

Mark Hatch, TechShop CEO, is thrilled to see TechShop Detroit become a reality so quickly and envisions limitless possibilities for the location, especially considering its proximity to the Ford engineering campus, nearby universities and the downtown area. According to recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of under-35 college-educated creatives taking up residence in downtown Detroit is on the rise, bucking the city's overall population decline over the past 10 years.

"Detroit is a market area full of talented communities of makers, hobbyists, backyard mechanics and general tinkerers that continues to grow," said Hatch, who already has more than 1,500 TechShop members registered at his California and North Carolina workshops. "We are excited to open TechShop Detroit and continue our collaboration with Ford to offer an affordable place to go that has the necessary equipment and resources to make inventive ideas a reality."

With more than $1 million invested in high-tech equipment alone, TechShop Detroit will feature everything from top-quality prototyping tools and industrial-grade sewing and textile equipment to laser cutting, welding and machine shop-type gear.

TechShop Detroit will be located in the Fairlane Business Park at 800 Republic Drive in a Ford Land-owned property.

Hub of ideas

The official arrival of TechShop to Detroit is also fueling another vision that Ford Global Technologies hopes to bring to life just as quickly and at the same address — a first-of-its-kind intellectual property exchange and technology showroom where everyday inventors, industry insiders, universities and research labs can display and even license their automotive innovations and other ideas.  

"This showroom idea can be considered TechShop 'Plus,'" said Coughlin. "It will be an open meeting place that will enable inventors to showcase what they create in TechShop and then negotiate, network and even sell their idea to players in the automotive industry, from manufacturers and suppliers to research institutions and startups."

The Innovation Exchange concept is a brick-and-mortar extension of the Detroit-based AutoHarvest Foundation, a new non-profit organization set up by several respected automotive executives to help connect the auto industry with metro Detroit's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ford Global Technologies, along with other automakers, suppliers, universities and research centers actively support AutoHarvest.

What's unique about the AutoHarvest connection, said Coughlin who serves as chairman of the group's Innovation Advisory Council, is that it gives the technology exchange showroom concept and those that use it an established collaborative and secure online platform where intellectual property is shared but also properly protected.

"Selling your technology can be difficult and daunting," he said. "The Innovation Exchange is all about helping spread the word about the innovation occurring inside Tech Shop, giving the creator the foundational resources they need to understand how to sell and commercialize their idea and connect with the right players while protecting their intellectual property."  

Managed by AutoHarvest, the Innovation Exchange would be open to the entire automotive community as well as individual makers in other industries, empowering the crowd to help create and bring to market the next must-have technologies.

For more information, visit:

Published in Ford Motor Company

InventHelp® and INPEX® will hold their 26th annual show, June 15-17, 2011 at the Monroeville Convention Center, near downtown Pittsburgh.

INPEX® is America’s largest invention trade show and welcomes inventors from both the United States and internationally. New products in over 40 categories will be on display, and attendees are able to touch and evaluate new ideas while talking directly to the inventor about the details of the invention. INPEX® is the only show to combine this type of experience and networking format for business representatives.

INPEX® has experienced a 30% increase in inventors for the 2011 show. This is exciting news because while the economy is still experiencing negative effects, innovation is experiencing a surge of growth and expansion. Inventors are able to provide companies with the latest “why didn’t I think of that” products & ideas.

Many companies have chosen INPEX® 2011 as a venue to conduct private product searches, with the potential of adding products to their existing product lines. Companies such as Church and Dwight, SkyMall®, Tupperware, Procter & Gamble, Schroeder & Tremayne, The Clorox Company, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Stanley Black & Decker, OXO and OXO Tot, Reckitt Benckiser and Hampton Direct will be attending INPEX® to give inventors the opportunity to pitch their products to these large, well known companies.

“We are excited to welcome these companies to INPEX®, and are glad that they are choosing INPEX® as a resource to look for new products,” said Nicole Hait, Trade Show Director.

INPEX® is also adding a new feature for business attendees in 2011. The INPEX® Open Innovation Conference, held June 14th and 15th, will bring together top notch open innovation leaders and advanced practitioners from multiple industries to address and provide leadership to accelerate the innovation-to-market cycle.

Attendees of the conference can listen to guest speakers from companies such as General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft Foods and Google, who will present on topics like the everyday challenges of open innovation, learning how to use social media technologies to engage with customers, using social networking to increase sales and promote business, growing open innovation capabilities with cost-conscience initiatives and expanding open innovation processes.

If you are a company or business attendee who is interested in attending INPEX®, please visit our website or call 888-54-INPEX to pre-register. INPEX is a service of InventHelp®, America’s largest inventor service company.

For more information visit:

Published in INPEX

In celebration of the spirit of innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame today honors its 2011 Inductees with a formal Induction ceremony, taking place at the historic Patent Office Building, now home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C.  The influence of this year's Inductees can be seen throughout the economy, from the medical device industry to modern imaging, from industrial manufacturing to e-commerce, and from kitchen cookware to iconic colored crayons.

The Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Kauffman Foundation, will honor both living and historical inventors.  The living inventors have given us inventions that we utilize every day, including the digital camera, the barcode, and the technology that allows for secure communication over the Internet.  The site for the recognition of historical inventors is particularly appropriate since almost all the inventors would have submitted patent applications to the same building where they are being honored.

"Paying tribute to this year's Inductees at the old Patent Office Building is a fitting celebration of their innovations," said Edward Gray, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "We hope that this recognition of their tremendous achievements will inspire today and tomorrow's new generations of inventors."

"It is truly a privilege to celebrate and honor such a distinguished group of innovators," said David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.  "Their ingenuity has transformed the very way we interact with the world, and their patented inventions have built businesses that have created jobs and inspired new technological development for generations to come.  The USPTO is delighted to join in recognizing these 39 Inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame."

This year, nine living inventors are honored, one of whom has a deceased co-inventor:

George Devol, Industrial Robot: Devol created the Unimate industrial robot and co-founded Unimation, Inc., the company that manufactured the Unimate.

Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, Ralph Merkle, Public Key Cryptography: PKC provides security on the otherwise highly insecure Internet, making it vital to such areas as e-commerce.

Eric Fossum, CMOS Active Pixel Sensor Camera-on-a-Chip: CMOS image sensors are a fixture in imaging, found in camera phones, digital SLR cameras, automotive safety systems, swallowable pill cameras, and more.

Gary Michelson, Spinal Surgical Devices: Orthopedic spinal surgeon Michelson has a portfolio of over 250 U.S. and 500 foreign patents related to minimally invasive spinal fusion methods, instruments, and implants.

Steven Sasson, Digital Camera: Sasson invented the first digital camera in 1975 at Eastman Kodak.

Esther S. Takeuchi, Lithium/Silver Vanadium Oxide Battery: Takeuchi led efforts to invent and refine Li/SVO battery technology, utilized in the majority of today's implantable defibrillators.

N. Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver (1924-1963), First Optically Scanned Barcode: Woodland and Silver invented the first optically scanned barcode.  First used by grocery stores, barcodes have many additional uses today.

These Inductees envisioned completely new ideas, achieving what some did not think possible, and their life changing work serves as encouragement to others today.  "I'm thrilled to be honored along with Whit and Ralph for inventing public key cryptography, especially in light of the thinking that we were on a fool's errand," said Inductee Martin Hellman. "I hope this validation of 'the wisdom of foolishness' will encourage today's young people to follow their dreams even when—maybe especially when—conventional wisdom sees their paths as dead ends."

In addition, the National Inventors Hall of Fame is bestowing posthumous recognition on a group of 29 historic inventors whose work in the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century provided a foundation for continued and future innovation. The group includes innovators such as Edwin Binney, who as co-owner of Binney & Smith manufactured carbon black and later became known for creating Crayola crayons.  Eugene Sullivan, who was head of research at Corning Glass Works, helped to develop the popular Pyrex® brand cookware through his work with borosilicate glass.  Mary Anderson invented a windshield clearing device, which evolved into the modern windshield wiper, and Albert Dick, founder of the A.B. Dick Company, invented duplicating equipment, including the mimeograph machine.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame annually accepts nominations for men and women whose work has changed society and improved the quality of life.  The candidate's invention must be covered by a United States patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.

About the Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world.  Founded in 1973 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall of Fame has 460 Inductees with its 2011 Induction.   The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA.  Hall of Fame hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from Noon to 5 PM (closed Sundays and federal holidays). Admission is free.  For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, including Inductee nomination forms and a full listing of Inductees, please visit

Today James Dyson led a fun, fast-paced, invention school workshop. Middle schoolers from Chicago Public Schools thought creatively, sketched and modeled their designs at Sir Miles Davis Academy’s “invention gym.” Brains were given a workout as the James Dyson Foundation began its mission to encourage more American students to become future engineers and inventors.

James’ Foundation has worked closely with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to develop its education program. Unusually, learning through failure is actively encouraged; engineers progress by making mistakes. For the workshop, students were given a design brief to redesign a household object that frustrates them. Along with James Dyson, engineering mentors worked with students to think beyond the everyday.

James Dyson said: “Young people have an innate inventive streak. They’re not stifled by experience – they take risks and are excellent problem-solvers. They fail everyday – exactly the making of a great engineer. We’re encouraging children to use their hands and heads, make mistakes and learn.”

For the launch, the Foundation was joined by local and national organizations to bring engineering to life for the students. Children learned about 3D printing with tools from Argonne National Laboratories, took an in depth look at skin cells with design firm, IDEO, and discovered how robots are made with FIRST robotics. Chicago education leaders were also in attendance, including President of Chicago Board of Education Mary Richardson-Lowry, Deputy CEO of External Affairs and Partnerships for CPS Barbara Lumpkin, along with influential STEM advocates Jon Dudas, President of FIRST Robotics and Tony Jones, President of the School of the Art Institute (and the Foundation’s chairman).

For the 2011/12 school year, the Foundation will support engineering education in Chicago through resources and after school clubs.

* Engineering Education box. The Engineering box takes students through the entire design process – brainstorming, sketching and modelling inventions. Only by taking something apart do you learn how it works. Children’s innate inquisitiveness is satisfied by disassembling a Dyson vacuum. The Foundation will make 70 available throughout Chicago schools, hoping to reach over 10,000 students in the first year.
* Engineering after school clubs. The Foundation is funding 20 engineering afterschool clubs in Chicago. The clubs will run for 10 weeks, twice a year, with the potential to reach 2,400 students over three years.
* Teacher training tools. The Foundation will offer teacher training tools to arm instructors with knowledge of engineering principles and how to incorporate the design process into their own classrooms.
* University scholarships. The Foundation will also work with universities in Chicago to help fund student’s engineering efforts.

Richard Durbin, U.S. Senator for Illinois, said about the Foundation: “Since 2002 The James Dyson Foundation has passionately supported engineering education. With the launch of the Foundation in Chicago, area youth will have the opportunity to access hands-on curriculum resources and workshops.”

Since 2002, the Foundation has promoted a hands-on, creative approach to engineering education. The Foundation has worked with hundreds of schools in the UK to enrich design and technology lessons with practical activities, lesson plans and workshops. Foundation resources have been used abroad in over 700 schools, reaching nearly 600,000 students.

For more information visit:

Published in James Dyson Foundation

First Inventors LLC is hosting a Mid-Atlantic Regional conference for inventors and innovators on May 14, 2011 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This one-day conference from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. consists of various workshops and panels for inventors and entrepreneurs.

First Inventors President, William Haller, along with Richard Morley, angel investor in more than 100 high technology companies, will be a featured keynote speaker at this year’s conference. Morley will present at the Saturday conference on the process of developing innovative, high technology products.

“First Inventors is strongly committed to educating inventors and innovators on how to advance their ideas to commercialization,” said Haller. “Inventors often get stuck in their journey from idea to financial reward. Using our NextSTEPS program, we have found that taking progressive, logical steps with decision points can minimize an inventor’s risk and help them find the necessary issues that need to be addressed before continuing development.”

The conference will feature interactive panels with high impact speakers that have worked with solo inventors and businesses. Panels and speakers will be aimed at providing information for inventors on a variety of topics including financing, product positioning, web marketing, and intellectual property. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with questions to challenge the panelists.

First Inventors is an invention consulting company that provides medium businesses, small business and independent inventors with a suite of services and educational tools focusing on both teaching and guiding the inventor through the critical first stages of invention and product development.

For more information visit:

Published in First Inventors

At eight years old, they built a log cabin with a new hatchet. At 10 years, a robotic arm from bike parts. At 27 years, the world’s fastest robotic tank and, now, the smallest all-terrain armored vehicle.

Today, with the help of SolidWorks® software, the Howe twins, Geoff and Mike, are able to invent extreme “Mad Max”-style vehicles with astonishing capabilities. Known in Defense Department R&D circles as the “The Wright brothers of the military,” the prime defense contractors also star in Discovery Channel’s “Black Ops Brothers, Howe & Howe Tech” show.

Through their main business, Howe and Howe Technologies Inc., of Waterboro, Maine, the brothers have produced:

* The Ripsaw® high-speed tank, dubbed “the future of combat” by Popular Science, capable of 80 mph and zero to 50 in 5 seconds;

* The Mini Rip ATV for consumers who want to be unstoppable in the woods;

* The PAV1, which is the world’s smallest tank, for police and SWAT teams;

* The Subterranean Rover, a rugged mining personnel transport vehicle; and

* The Thermite unmanned firefighting vehicle.

“With everything we build, we take the top technologies available and push them to the limits,” said President Michael Howe. “We take the same approach when choosing design and fabrication tools. We want the best software and hardware that we can find, so we can test the boundaries of what is possible.”

After trying other software, Howe and Howe settled on SolidWorks because it’s easy to use and compatible with other tools. “SolidWorks is definitely on the cutting edge of interface design,” Howe said. “It has a short learning curve, and our new engineers pick it up in about a week. We can also output different CAD formats, because SolidWorks plays well with others. This makes us compatible with a wide range of customers.”

Adopting SolidWorks has dramatically streamlined development. The Howe and Howe team makes extensive use of tools for efficient design of weldments, and 3D models drive plasma torch and CNC cutters. Roll-cage fabrication now takes one-tenth the time, and scrap costs are down by 85 percent.

The success of Howe and Howe Technologies has also attracted the interest of Hollywood. The company recently created a highly modified version of the Ripsaw for use as a prop in an upcoming Hollywood film.

“The efficiencies that we’ve instituted using SolidWorks allow us to compete successfully against the big defense contractors,” Howe notes. “We’ve gone from two guys working off hours to a multi-million dollar research and development company.”

Howe and Howe relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller CADD Edge Inc. for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

Published in SolidWorks

This is an important message for all those inventors, boffins and creative minds out there – Henkel would like to know all about your patented or patentpending concepts or inventions. With the Henkel Innovation Partnership Program, the company is hoping to make direct contact with independent inventors and encourage them to submit their ideas.

Henkel has a clear mission, namely to enhance its position as a “Global leader with brands and technologies.” This vision can, however, only be sustainably realized through a constant innovation stream. Keen to further strengthen creativity, performance and efficiency in its innovation activities, Henkel has long looked beyond its bounds to supplement its internal expertise – seeking successful collaborations with research establishments, universities and other companies, and also direct interaction with independent inventors.

With its Innovation Partnership Program, Henkel is hoping to make contact with creative minds who are in possession of published patent applications, patent grants, registered designs or utility models relating to relevant products and processes. Indeed, the only prerequisite is that the patented ideas provide a proper fit with the brands and technologies of the company’s three business sectors: Laundry & Home Care, Cosmetics/Toiletries and Adhesive Technologies.

The application process is quick and simple – candidates should simply go to and then click on a link entitled “Henkel Innovation Partnership Program.” This will bring up an online form ready for completion and dispatch.

Further material is available at

Henkel operates worldwide with leading brands and technologies in three business areas: Laundry & Home Care, Cosmetics/Toiletries and Adhesive Technologies. Founded in 1876, Henkel holds globally leading market positions both in the consumer and industrial businesses with well-known brands such as Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite. Henkel employs about 50,000 people and reported sales of 13,573 million euros and adjusted operating profit of 1,364 million euros in fiscal 2009. Henkel’s preferred shares are listed in the German stock index DAX and the company ranks among the Fortune Global 500.


Wulf Klüppelholz
Tel. +49 211 797 - 1875
Fax +49 211 798 - 4040

Dr. Ute Krupp
Tel. +49 211 797 - 5641
Fax +49 211 798 - 4040

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

Published in Henkel

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