Thank you to everyone who submitted essays to our writing contest this year! We greatly appreciate your participation. Featured below, you will find the selected winner and his essay, as well as honorable mentions for the second and third place contestants. We hope you enjoy!
Excerpt from the upcoming August issue of Inventors Digest:
First, they learned about intellectual property’s indisputable value on innovation. Then, they were asked to put it into words. Students of the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property’s course, “Intellectual Property: Inventors, Entrepreneurs, Creators,” told their stories in a contest that ended in June. This was well timed in the context of innovation challenges during these unprecedented times. Jaseem Bhatti, who wrote the winning entry, discussed how IP is and will be part of his invention journey. He won a $500 cash prize and the privilege of having his essay published in Inventors Digest and on the Michelson IP blog…
Read Jaseem’s winning essay below!
THE WORLD IS INNOVATING every second. The mobile phone in your hand will boast hundreds of new features in its next iteration. Each invention generates a unique piece of intellectual property (IP). In this century of fast transformation, those who want to make their mark with new innovations must learn about intellectual property in order to protect their ideas. I was first introduced to the importance of intellectual property by my mentor Ravi Brahmbhatt, the director of student innovation at Houston Community College (HCC). He recommended that I learn about intellectual property by reading a book called “The Intangible Advantage: Understanding Intellectual Property in the New Economy.”
Ravi guided me through the IP protection process and introduced me to the right people. In my case, I was extremely lucky to receive support from the HCC Fabrication and Innovation Lab, where people like Roland Field, the lab supervisor, helped me create my first prototype of a delivery drone. The lab staff guided me through each process of designing, building, and eventually 3D-printing a prototype. Although a working prototype is not required for patent filings, this experience demonstrated the importance of knowing the technical aspects of my invention. The best part of the HCC Fabrication and Innovation Lab was that it was all free. Yes—you read that right. It was all free—from the 3D-printing filament to the excellent services.
“The Intangible Advantage” also helped me understand the real-world problems faced by inventors when filing for a patent. After enrolling in the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property’s Udemy course based on the same book, I was able to refresh my knowledge and learn a few new things in the process. Intellectual property education didn’t just teach me how to protect my innovation; it also showed me that I need to be able to explain the technical aspects of my ideas. The difference between a child’s conception of a toy versus that of a person with an intellectual property rights background is knowledge of the product’s inner workings. In other words, you can design a new breed of jet engine on paper, but until you can prove how it works, the design won’t be taken seriously.
This is where intellectual property comes in; it doesn’t just provide you with exclusive rights to your invention, it also guides you on how to explain the process of how your invention operates. Intellectual property awareness has not only saved me money by empowering me to file my own patents, it also helped me take home awards in two invention and engineering competitions. One was Houston Community College’s Innventathon@HCC, where I designed an anti-flooding truck that stops floods by increasing the velocity of water flow in the sewers. And the second was the “Extreme Redesign: Engineering Post-Secondary Education” competition in which I designed a mechanical toy inspired by the Boston Dynamics robot.
In the latter, I placed third out of 70 engineers who took part in the contest. My key to winning was the
explanation and design—which I learned through studying IP. People with inventive ideas must learn about intellectual property. Just imagine if Nikola Tesla had never bothered patenting his AC-power inventions. We would only find DC-power plants in our cities, and the cost of electric power would be much higher. Electricity might only be a luxury for the rich. I personally believe that no invention is “big” or “small,” but that each has the potential to put its mark in history. It might take centuries for the world to see the worth of an invention, but it will be realized eventually.
Leonardo da Vinci serves as an example. The people of his day thought of him as a delusional dreamer with ideas that were impossible to become a reality. It took society five centuries to realize how his inventions are the foundation of modern human history. We should all treat intellectual property education as a method for acquiring knowledge, because in the end the only thing that will remain won’t be your money, it will be the knowledge you acquired. As the ancient mystic and poet Rumi once said: “Two there are who are never satisfied—the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.”
Jaseem was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He received an Associate of Science degree in engineering from Houston Community College and is now a senior. An avid reader who says he invents to try to solve real-world problems, Jaseem is working on a security robot that could also track and report people’s temperatures in public places to help us stop COVID-19.
Second-place winner Brieanna Singletary is a newly licensed attorney living in North Carolina. With the help of the Michelson course on Udemy, she gained the confidence to begin helping small businesses protect their brands online. When she is not doing trademark work, she creates exciting content online.
Third-place winner Quanda R. Graves, better known by her poet moniker Until, is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and the owner of QS Simple Treasures & Greetings LLC. She published her first book in 2014, “I Just Want to Write.”
The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, an initiative of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, addresses critical gaps in intellectual property education to empower the next generation of inventors. Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Alya Michelson. To learn more, visit 20mm.org.