For the fifth straight year, the Chicago Intellectual Property Alliance (CIPA) sponsored awards for the “Most Inventive” projects at the Chicago Student Science Fair. Attorneys, law students and other volunteers joined together to judge the projects on March 28th at the Museum of Science and Industry. Volunteers were drawn from the corporations, law schools, and law firms that are founders or members of CIPA.
The level of student inventiveness has been remarkable over the five years, and it is always challenging for CIPA to select its winners from many excellent projects. However the challenge is made easier by the wonderful turnout of volunteer judges.
“CIPA matches the technical expertise and interest of law students and attorneys to the categories of the Science Fair. By fielding a large number of judges with an aptitude for science and technology, CIPA is able to look at all of the projects at the Science Fair and find those that best fit our awards criteria,”
explains Steven G. Parmelee, Science Fair committee co-chair and intellectual property attorney with Fitch, Even Tabin & Flannery.
“Year after year, it is a great experience for the law students,” says Gina Bicknell (pictured at left with 2008 student winner Suad Causevic), a patent agent at Baxter Healthcare Corporation and a law student in her last year at Chicago-Kent. Gina is a member of CIPA’s Science Fair committee and has volunteered as a judge in each of the last five years. “It is always rewarding to interact with these bright high school students and to learn about their projects.”
In making its awards for the “Most Inventive” projects, CIPA looks for projects that demonstrate a new, practical application of technology. CIPA also hopes to provide the high school students with some basic information about intellectual property by providing an educational bulletin to all the students participating in the science fair.
This is in keeping with CIPA’s mission to promote Chicago as a vibrant center for the development and management of intellectual property, serving to link and assist organizations, companies, schools and individuals that share an interest in innovation and intellectual property. Christian Gonzalez is pictured at left with his winning Rubik’s Cube display.
In addition to cash prizes, the first place winner also receives assistance with a patent application for his or her project if it appears to meet the criteria of patentability. CIPA’s 2007 Winner, Shaun Humes of Walter Payton College Prep (pictured at right with Steve Parmelee and Gina Bicknell) , is applying for a patent with CIPA’s assistance. “I am really grateful for the help and guidance that CIPA has given me, and I have already learned a great deal about the patenting process,” says Humes.