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USPTO, NIHFF and the Ad Council Launch

Monday, November 17, 2008

Part of Multi-Year Campaign to Inspire Inventiveness in Kids, Winning Contest Entries Receive Prizes from Sony and Potential National Television Broadcast Exposure

Washington, DC -- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation (NIHFF) have teamed with the Ad Council to announce the "Inspiring Invention" public service advertising (PSA) development contest to engage a new generation of children in innovation. This contest is part of the Ad Council’s "Inspiring Invention" campaign, sponsored by the USPTO and NIHFF. The contest is open to school groups at the elementary, middle and high school levels nationwide. In addition to prizes including Sony video and audio production software and hardware, the winning entries will be distributed to media outlets throughout the country in spring of 2009. The contest Web site, developed by Discovery Education, is

The "Inspiring Invention" campaign, launched in April 2007, seeks to make inventing and developing new ideas part of American children’s lives, while also introducing children to how inventions are protected through patents, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property (IP) protection. The campaign aims to primarily reach tweens (ages 8-11), with a goal of motivating these children to pursue inventing and innovating as part of their educations and, later, in their careers. The PSAs developed for the campaign direct children to visit to explore and discover their own innate inventiveness.

Judging the "Inspiring Invention" PSA Contest are Dr. James West, inventor of the modern microphone and National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee, as well as members of the Ad Council’s Creative Review Committee (CRC), which is comprised of the best creative talents in American advertising.

"We see this contest as a natural extension of the goals of the ‘Inspiring Invention’ Campaign," Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas commented. "The contest will provide those who enter an opportunity to experience the reward and recognition that creativity and invention can provide, while also learning about the importance of IP protection."

Dr. James West added, "On behalf of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, I’m proud to be associated with this important campaign as it strives to develop the next generation of inventors and innovators. I look forward to seeing the creative ideas generated by the youth of our nation."

Entrants to the "Inspiring Invention" PSA contest will submit their video in either the elementary and middle school or high school categories by March 15, 2009. Initial entries will be submitted to Sony Creative Software on a DVD accompanied by a backgrounder on the production and the theme. If selected as a semi-finalist, contestants will then furnish broadcast-ready components for final judging. One grand prize winner will be chosen from each of the two categories and awarded a prize package featuring Sony Creative Software professional video and audio applications and software, in addition to having the PSA aired on national television.

The contest Web site, hosted by Discovery Education, will link to resources—including downloadable teacher tools, lesson plans, project ideas, inventor biographies and more—that educators can use to teach their students about the history of invention, provide an introduction to intellectual property protection and inspire creative thinking. The Web site will also include full contest rules, regulations and entry forms.

"We are delighted to extend the ‘Inspiring Invention’ PSA campaign through this creative contest, that will help generate interest and excitement among children in exploring their creativity and learning how their ideas can lead to the technological advances of the future," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council. "We thank Sony Creative Software and Discovery Education for their support of this important campaign."

Since the launch of the Inspiring Invention PSA campaign, more than 85,000 children have registered on the campaign Web site,, and the site has had more than 2.5 million sessions. Additionally, according to a 2007 Ad Council study, of those tweens surveyed who were aware of the PSAs, 62 percent agree that if "kids can invent things so can I."

The references to specific Sony products and Discovery Education in this press release do not imply endorsement or support of Sony Corporation or Discovery Education by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO makes no endorsement, express or implied, of any commercial products, nor is it responsible for the content or activities of any Sony Corporation or Discovery Education linked sites.

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