FIRST Team 1296, the Full Metal Jackets, are looking to give back to the community with an unusual offer. I was the original lead mentor and my son was on our first year team. My son, Blake, has since moved on to a BSEE from Baylor and a law degree from SMU. Blake is a registered patent attorney. We have joined forces in an engineering and intellectual property services company. These are the basics:
1 - If a current or last season enrolled student is a named inventor we’ll draw up the patent for free. The inventor(s) need only pay the filing fees.
2 - If a current mentor (one full season, kickoff through champs) is a named inventor, we’ll draw up the patent for a “friends and family” rate. The inventor(s) pay the filing fees.
3 - If a company is a current major sponsor ($2,000+ for two or more years) of an active FRC team, a SBA small business and a private entity, we’ll draw up the patent for a “friends and family” rate. The inventor(s) pay the filing fees.
There are always caveats … we respectfully expect the inventors to participate in a reasonable patentability search and that the resulting intellectual property have some potential commercial value to the inventor(s) relative to the normal cost of prosecution. The inventor(s) must particpate in the transaction with timely responses to questionnaires, reviews of narrative content, payment of filing fees etc. And of course this offer is subject to our time and availability.
Thanks for the kind words Jason! It is a way more expensive process than most think (as you know) thus the “some potential commercial value” phrase. No reason to prosecute a new patent or litigate an existing one if there is nothing at stake!
Both my kids studied engineering, both won their design contests at Baylor and both have good career choices because of FIRST. My son even joined the Navy Reserve as an EDO (Engineering Duty Officer). Now my grandson would live at the practice facility if we let him - it gets in your blood!
We intended to catch those who were seniors on a team and are in their first year in college (or post high school). But we are not trying to be pedantic, just had to draw the line somewhere. PM me about your specific status and we’ll talk!
Hi Keith, thank you so much for this generous offer to the FIRST community. I know from my research that the patent filing process is really difficult, and I appreciate all of your help in both my case and anyone else’s. I PM’d you about my situation and I hope you can help me.
We are getting quite a few queries - FIRSTers are an inventive bunch! And we’ve repeated this advice often enough to post it …
Young inventors often toil away on a great idea only to see it already exists. Before you put too much time into your invention do serious research and figure out if it is unique. Your idea can’t pre-exist in any “prior art” (invalid, valid or abandoned patent applications, scholarly publications, trade journals etc) or in combinations of “prior art”. If the invention seems unique, does it have commercial value?
I refer you to http://www.ipwatchdog.com/ to get ideas for patentability searches. My son is of counsel to the firm that supports this web site. There is a lot of great information for inventors!
Thanks for the site! I saw the prices to file patents with certain examples and nearly spit out my water. This is a very generous offer and will certainly keep this in mind (I’m working on something at the current moment that might qualify!).