There are three primary considerations to innovation: (1) what to build; (2) how to sell; and (3) how to protect it. Therefore expertise in engineering, business and legal comes together to take an idea to market and protect it. When students participate in the Young Innovator Competition their inventions are subject to three tiers of judging:
- Initial judging reviews hundreds of invention submissions and selects the top 20-50 entries based on marketability; functionality; feasibility and potential value. Initial judging is performed by industry experts, patent attorneys and engineers.
- Finalist selection is perform by a local chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI members are U.S. patent holders that have often been through the entire process of bringing a new product to market. The NAI members select the finalists.
- Finalist judges hear live presentations from the finalists selected by the NAI members and award the grand prizes on or near February 11th each year (Thomas Edison’s birthday).