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USPTO Celebrates Our Next Generation of Inventors

USPTO Deputy Director Teresa Stanek Rea and Winning Inventors of the “PrestoPatch”

Today Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Teresa Stanek Rea, welcomed America’s future innovative leaders to the USPTO headquarters for this year’s Collegiate Inventors Competition.

Introduced in 1990 and co-sponsored by the USPTO and Invent Now, the competition encourages invention, entrepreneurship and creativity in students who are working on cutting-edge inventions at their colleges and universities. Outstanding inventions in science, engineering, mathematics, technology (STEM) and other creative fields are judged by a panel of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and USPTO officials.

The competition recognizes inventors and scientists early in their careers, and rewards students’ pioneering ideas as they address the problems of today’s world. Past finalists and winners have gone on to start their own companies based on their inventions, win prestigious fellowships and grants and receive national attention for their work.

This year’s finalists and winners trended strongly towards medical advances. Entries included a next-generation cancer chemotherapy patch; a powered upper body exoskeleton for physical therapy and occupational lifting applications; a mechanical leech for post-surgical treatment of tissue reattachment patients; a DNA sequence-based invention for the early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers; and an intravenous drip designed to enable clinicians in developing countries to provide dehydrated children with life-saving intravenous fluids without the risk of overhydration.

“What we are celebrating today is not just all of you--individual inventors and their inventions--but the living spirit of invention and innovation that thrives here in this country like no other place in the world,” said Deputy Director Rea during today’s awards ceremony.

For many participants in the Collegiate Inventors Competition and numerous others nationwide, invention starts in grade-school classrooms, where enlightened teachers encouraged hands-on learning and open-ended thinking. And it continues in basements and garages across America, where bright young minds explore and experiment.

USPTO’s partnership with Invent Now helps to ensure the social, technological, medical, and economic health of our country through education and outreach, and includes programs like Camp Invention, which reaches tens of thousands of children each year, igniting their passion for creativity and inventive thinking. 

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office is proud to recognize today’s young innovators and encourage them to continue to foster the long-standing culture of American innovation to become tomorrow’s inventors and entrepreneurs.

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