We all know that Thomas Edison created the light bulb. But how will anyone ever know that you were the first to dream up your invention? What if someone else says it was their idea first? You’ve put all of your hard work and energy into this one creation; you don’t want to lose it all. When you think of an amazing idea, one that is all your own, there is a way to protect it so no one tries to steal it. That’s where the patent comes in and saves the day.
A patent is a legal document from the United States government that basically says that you thought of the invention all by yourself, and no one can steal the idea from you. No one, other than yourself, will be able to sell or produce your creation without your say. Pretty cool, right?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the place to start getting your inventions patented, but getting a patent is not easy or quick.
Just think, once you have your idea patented, nobody will ever be able to say anyone else created it. And, one day your name may be the one kids everywhere know as a great inventor!
— Alyssa Hansen & Kaycee Johnsen, Kid/Teen Inventors
Alyssa Hansen and Kaycee Johnsen, both 16, began inventing when they were just 10 years old. They, along with their siblings and friends, have created Boogie2Boogie, a new kind of wave-riding toy and the Underwater X-treme, a challenging pool toy that solves the problem of everybody peeking when playing Marco Polo. Both inventions won the National TOYchallenge and are currently being marketed by By Kids For Kids. Alyssa and Kaycee have been writing a regular column for creative kids since 2006 and have co-written a book and activity kit that teaches kids how to invent.