EquIP HQ: Empowering students and teachers with invention and intellectual property skills

Main Blog Image
A mix of kids and adults sit in lecture style room with laptops on their desk while a woman speaks at a podium

On August 8, 2022, students, parents, and educators got firsthand experience trying out EquIP HQ at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Michael Cleveland/USPTO)

EquIP HQ: Empowering students and teachers with invention and intellectual property skills

4 min read

Do you know which president had a patent? Do you want to design your own trademark?

These are just some of the questions and fun activities posed by EquIP HQ, the USPTO’s new invention education resource that we are thrilled to launch today. The online platform, created by and for the USPTO with support from digital education contractor Second Avenue Learning, provides free tools to teach students real-world invention and intellectual property (IP) skills.

Whether you're a school administrator, teacher, student, parent, or caregiver, EquIP HQ has something for everyone. You can watch inspirational and educational videos, learn about IP throughout history, or find lesson plans, all while learning how you, too, can innovate and change the world. Activities are tailored to students' grade level and range from online games to learning about IP, to hearing stories from young inventors, to more complex activities like learning how patent claims are drafted.

Director Vidal and Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Education Donna Harris-Aikens read a book to students at Cora Kelly Elementary School

Director Kathi Vidal and Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Education Donna Harris-Aikens read the book “Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons” by Dr. Arlyne Simon to second graders at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science, and Technology on World IP Day, April 26, 2022. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO)

The primary goal of EquIP HQ is to raise IP awareness, knowledge, and understanding among K-12 learners and educators. Invention education and learning about the importance of IP is for every student, and empowering them to recognize the innovator within is a core part of our mission at the USPTO. Reaching students at an early age with fun and engaging content to learn how to invent and protect their creations is critical to inclusive innovation. Our hope that each student who uses EquIP HQ will realize that their ideas are powerful and can change the world.

Research has shown that inventing and entrepreneurship are crucial to the United States' economic success; however, it has also revealed significant disparities in opportunities to innovate across the country. If we, as a nation, can build an innovation economy that more closely reflects the diversity of our citizens and equally enables everyone to invent, start businesses, and access IP protection, just think of the problems we would solve! The USPTO is dedicated to advancing this endeavor.

It is also crucial that we take a united approach to empowering all innovators. That is why we strongly support the U.S. Department of Education's You Belong in STEM initiative, the National Science Foundation's INCLUDES National Network, and we work closely with many other educational organizations and minority serving institutions to advance inclusive innovation at an early age.

Deputy Director Brent Simon spoke with Dr. Arlyne Simon at InventEd

On November 16, 2022, Deputy Director of the USPTO Derrick Brent held a fireside chat with Dr. Arlyne Simon about her inspiring journey as a young inventor at the 2022 InventEd conference in Alexandria, Virginia. The USPTO works closely with the InventEd Network, a coalition of educators, program providers, funders, researchers, and more who are building and advocating for invention education. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO)

We love the work we do with educators across the country and are always inspired by their creativity. If you are a K-12 educator interested in incorporating more fun and interactive IP lessons in your classroom, we want to meet you! We host monthly professional development webinars on the last Tuesday of each month that offer insightful stories, tips, and tricks for K-12 educators to integrate invention activities into their STEM/STEAM curriculum. Our February 28 webinar will focus on EquIP HQ.

We will also be showcasing EquIP HQ at events around the country! Look for us at the South by Southwest EDU Expo in Austin, March 6-8. In addition, we are now accepting applications for our popular National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI) on Innovation, STEM, and IP. NSTI is a multi-day professional development opportunity for K-12 educators to boost their knowledge of making, inventing, and IP concepts, including using tools like EquIP HQ. The deadline to apply is March 31, and the program will take place July 16-21 in St. Louis. And learn more about all our resources for kids and educators, upcoming events, and outreach efforts on our Office of Education page.

We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think of EquIP HQ by emailing your feedback and suggestions to education@uspto.gov.

Engage with the Director and join the conversation on our social media channels.