IP Goes Pop! – Inventing For Kids of All Ages With the USPTO

Young or “prodigy” inventors. We see them fictionalized in movies and we hear about the real child inventors and entrepreneurs who make it onto Shark Tank each season. But in the real world, what programs are in place to encourage young inventors, new entrepreneurs, and small businesses to create and protect their ideas? Where can they turn for reliable information and assistance on available protections for an idea, invention, or a revolutionary business venture, and how to go about securing those protections? This episode of IP Goes Pop! virtually visits the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an inside look at the many available resources, World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, and how inventors of any age can bring their ideas into the world.

Join podcast co-hosts, Volpe Koenig Shareholders, and intellectual property lawyers, Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue for a conversation with USPTO Regional Outreach Director, Elizabeth Dougherty. Elizabeth provides a general overview of what functions the USPTO provides in American life and talks about her role in educating a wide variety of inventors. The panel explores famous movies involving young inventors in fictional worlds before delving into the many real-life ways the USPTO enables everyone to gather information about the patent and trademark filing processes and protections.

While many may think patents and trademarks are reserved for well-funded businesses backed by large legal teams, or scientists tucked away in labs on the brink of medical breakthroughs, Elizabeth makes it clear that the USPTO works to make IP protections accessible to everyone, no matter who they might be or where they might be from.

Elizabeth walks Michael and Joe through the new inventor journey, describing how the USPTO can help in the invention process. From dedicated resources for students, teachers, and children on the USPTO website, to the often-underutilized Pro Bono and Law School Clinic Programs, you may be surprised to hear everything the USPTO has to offer.


1:41 Elizabeth Dougherty USPTO Eastern Regional Outreach Director

7:00 Movies with Kid Inventors

13:03 What is World IP Day?

  • Themes
    • 2016: Digital Creativity
    • 2017: Innovation Improving Lives
    • 2018: Powering Change – Women Innovation and Creativity
    • 2019: Reach for the Gold: IP in Sports
    • 2020: Innovation for a Green Future
    • 2021: Small Businesses Taking Big Ideas to Market
    • 2022: IP and Young Innovators for a Brighter Future

 17:51 USPTO Initiatives

20:00 How does the USPTO help first-time and new inventors get started? What information can they access through the USPTO and how?

 31:06 USPTO Inventor Pro Bono Program and Law School Clinic Program

34:02 10 Million Patents

35:01 Final Thoughts


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