On November 7th, 2014, I attended the first annual Innovation Festival at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. This signature event is part of a five-year collaboration between the USPTO and the Smithsonian to celebrates and showcases technological advances made possible, in part, by the mission of the USPTO to protect and promote intellectual property. The 2015 Innovation Festival will be held on September 26th & 27th and will explore how today’s inventors are creating the world of our future. In preparation for the event, the USPTO and the Smithsonian are now accepting applications of inventors interested in exhibiting their inventions at this year’s event.
All applicants must meet the following basic requirements to be considered for selection:
- The invention to be exhibited must be protected by one or more U.S. patents.
- The most recent patent associated with the technology must have been issued no later than January 1, 2012. This requirement may be relaxed if the technology is still generally considered to be state of the art.
- The invention must be commercialized, meaning it is for sale or license to consumers, businesses, entities, or governments.
- At least one inventor listed on the patent(s) must be a U.S. citizen.
- At least one inventor must be available at the exhibit booth during the festival.
Exhibitors will be selected from eligible applicants using the following criteria:
- Ability of proposed exhibit to engage the public interest in patents, invention, and innovation (technologies that can be demonstrated on site are encouraged)
- The interactive educational value of the proposed exhibit
- Variety among technological fields to be presented at the festival
- Demonstrated impact of the invention to advance, influence, and shape our future society.
- Clarity of vision for how the invention will be presented at the festival, including whether you will present design drawings, video, and /or graphic images.
- Ability to accommodate the size of the exhibit. The preferred dimensions should not exceed 8×10 feet.
The Festival includes displays, presentations, hands-on activities, expert talks, and demonstrations that explore the interdisciplinary nature of innovation across the technological, scientific, artistic, and historical landscape. The Festival provides a special opportunity for the public to meet, learn, and exchange ideas from inventors and innovators while exploring their own creative abilities.
At the 2014 Innovation Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing several of the inventors that exhibited their inventions. After meeting so many dynamic inventors I decided to start showcasing individual inventors on IPWatchdog. So far, those I have showcased are all from last year’s festival and include:
- Alexei Novitzky, an avid skateboarder who invented the “Skatecase” Skateboard with Built-in Storage.
- Christen Wooley, a young lady who, as an 11 year old, created her Vestpakz combination Vest/Backpack as part of a sixth grade science project.
- Merry Lynn Morris, a faculty member in the School of Dance & Theater at USF, who invented an Omni-directional Rolling Dance Mobility Chair.
Finally, in the near future, I will next be showcasing Brad & Melinda Shepherd, Inventors of the Gyro Bowl, spill proof snack container. Look for this article and many more to come.