The USPTO has partnered with the nonprofit the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) since 1973. USPTO and NIHF together run the museum located at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Va., induct extraordinary inventors to the Hall of Fame, and sponsor programs to encourage creativity, exploration, and inventiveness in people of all ages and backgrounds, including children, teachers, parents, college students, and independent inventors.
Camp Invention was founded in 1990 by USPTO in partnership with NIHF. Inspired and informed by NIHF Inductees, Camp Invention is a summer enrichment program for children in grades 1-6 that not only promotes creativity and inventive thinking through hands-on STEM activities, but also educates children with age-appropriate introductions to the workings of USPTO, and the value of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and the American IP protection system. The program is taught by local, certified teachers who receive professional development training. Camp Invention reaches 120,000 children in 1,500 schools nationwide each summer and exponentially more through teachers who report transferring Camp Invention strategies in their school year classrooms.
Founded in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages students’ innovative creativity, breaking boundaries as they envision a better society. It promotes collegiate competition among the country’s finest universities and connects the inventive spirit and entrepreneurship – encouraging students to see the value of their ideas to our society, continue to develop their inventions, patent their work, seek investors, start businesses, and contribute to new economies.
Entries to the Competition represent disciplines as varied as medical devices, biotechnology, nanotechnology, renewable energy, robotics and systems engineering. Finalists are determined through two tiers of judging. In the preliminary round, entries are reviewed by expert judges in the applicant’s field of invention or research. The scores from the preliminary round help to determine the Finalists who gather at the USPTO for an immersive judging/feedback experience with National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and top officials from the USPTO.
The Competition is marketed to faculty and students at over 1,000 colleges and universities and awards over $100,000 in prizes annually to first, second and third prize winners in both the undergraduate and graduate categories. A large number of Collegiate Inventors Competition Finalists have gone on to start their own businesses, license their technology through university technology transfer and continue their research at the graduate and postdoctoral levels.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame celebrates the visionaries whose inventions have changed our world; shares engaging stories of extraordinary inventors, the obstacles they overcome, and their relevance to our past, present, and future; and builds a community of Inductees who spark the innovative mindset of future generations. NIHF Inductees are integrated throughout all programs – through program development and inspiration, curricula, program participation, and philanthropic support.
Inventor nominations are accepted from all sources, and the criterion for induction into the Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a United States Patent that has contributed significantly to the nation’s welfare and the advancement of science and useful arts.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held annually in Washington, D.C. The world’s foremost inventors are honored in a celebration highlighting their outstanding contributions to society. In addition, the Inductees’ inventive legacies are featured in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum, located at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Va.