Explaining Patents to Kids:
Sometimes parents underestimate their kids’ ideas. But you never know if they could be the next Alexander Graham Bell, Ben Franklin, or……… Frank Epperson!
Who is Frank Epperson? He is an 11-year old boy who invented the ice pop back in 1905. And, did you know the earmuff was created by a 15-year old back in 1877?
These inventors are kids, just like ours!
As parents, it’s important to support kids’ imagination because that cool idea might just have some potential. But if the invention has commercial potential then it will be essential to get a patent on it. How do you explain a patent to a kid?
When an individual or company develops a new product they will stake a claim on their unique idea, so no one else is able to steal it. They protect the idea by getting a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office. These are licenses awarded by the government giving the owner exclusivity over something he/she invented for a certain amount of time.
To explain the concept of patents to kids, try focusing on products they know about. The next time they reach for their favorite electronic device explain how someone came up with the idea for it, and that it likely has a patent on the technology.
Even food companies need to have patents — Kraft and Kellogg are currently battling it out over snack superiority. These companies take their snack making ability so seriously that they are actually fighting over the packaging their cookies come in. Kraft is suing Kellogg arguing it improperly uses one of its patents to keep its Keebler cookies fresh.
From cookies to ice pops, there are plenty of resources out there for budding inventors.
- Frank Epperson’s story on Inventive Kids
- By Kids for Kids, a company that supports parents and kids through the inventive thinking process.
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office, for teens who really have a commercially viable product or invention.
Next time your teen exclaims, “Hey look what I just built,” take a moment to listen.
> Post provided by @ErikaVujnovich