Travis Edwards

Travis Edwards

The Follow Through Fixer: A self-taught inventor navigates the patent process on his own as a Pro Se applicant.

Travis Edwards could not fix his crooked basketball shot. No matter how many hours he spent practicing in his driveway, trying out different mechanical and corrective exercises, he could not figure out how to make the ball fly straight and true into the basket. Frustrated but undeterred, he realized he would have to get creative to find a solution and level up his basketball game to what he knew was possible. Travis started with an idea and took action to put that idea into practice. Using a few rubber bands, and some duct tape, he began crafting and improving on a device that would eventually become his first patented invention: the “Follow Through Fixer.”  

Travis shooting a basketball and demonstrating how the Follow Thru Fixer works
Travis using the Follow Through Fixer to achieve a perfect follow through on his basketball shot.

In the course of creating and continually improving on the Follow Through Fixer, Travis did what inventors often have to do: He taught himself what he needed to know. When his experiments with different rubber band configurations no longer yielded new results in his prototypes, Travis taught himself 3-D printing to create the custom-shaped elements he needed to take the device further. When he reached the point where he realized that he might have something useful to other people, Travis researched marketability and learned about the importance of protecting his intellectual property (IP) with a patent. Travis submitted a provisional application for a patent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in October 2020, knowing that this provisional application would serve as a placeholder and give him a year to figure out whether to submit a non-provisional utility patent application.  

Impressively, Travis filed his patent application pro se. "Pro se" is Latin for “in one’s own behalf.” Travis filed his patent application independently, without a lawyer or patent agent. He talked to IP experts and college professors near his hometown, researched how to file a patent on the USPTO website, and watched instructional videos on YouTube. Before filing his application, Travis also did research to see if there were any other inventions like his and, if so, how his invention was new, different, or an improvement on existing inventions. He also worked with a freelance artist to create the detailed drawings that are required when submitting a patent application. With his parents’ help, Travis parsed through the legal language and requirements for filing and prosecuting a patent application. All of his work and determination paid off and on January 23, 2024, he was issued U.S. Patent No. 11,878,228 B2 for his invention, which he dubbed the “Follow Through Fixer.” 

Travis identified a problem important to him and developed a solution for it. His invention journey shows what can be accomplished with passion, curiosity, grit, and perseverance. 

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