Competition Rules

Rules for the USF Young Innovator Competition

Last Updated September 6, 2016

Ask your TEACHER, parent or legal guardian to read and discuss these official rules with you before entering the contest.

1. General Conditions. The University of South Florida Young Innovator Competition (“Competition”) is administered by Innovation Express Corporation (“Sponsor”), an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit and certain co-sponsors (each a “Co-Sponsor”). Each person who enters the Competition (each an “Entrant” and sometimes referred to herein as “You”) agrees to follow these Official Rules (the “Rules”) and the decisions of Sponsor and the Judges (as defined below), which decisions may be made in all cases in the sole and absolute discretion of Sponsor and the Judges, and which are final and binding on all matters relating to the Competition.

2. Limits on Inventions. If you enter the Competition, your invention:

2.1  Can be a new and original invention;

2.2  Can be an improvement or change to something that already exists;

2.3  Must be your own original work, and not the work of someone else (including your parents or legal guardians);

2.4  Cannot be previously published or submitted more than one year before to submit it to the competition (such as at a previous year school science fair or other school project);

3. Who Can Enter. You can enter the Competition if you are enrolled in Kindergarten through 8th grade as of February 11. You must be a legal resident of Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Citrus, Sarasota or Polk County, Florida. You cannot enter the Competition if you or a member of your household (parent, sibling, or other person living with you) is an employee, officer or director of a Competition judge. Sponsor will only accept entries that have been completed and submitted as described below.

4. How to Enter. The Competition entry window will start as indicated on the competition website (the “Start Date”), and will end on the deadline (the “End Date”). After the Start Date but before the End Date, complete the following steps:

4.1  Go to Sponsor’s website at (“Website”) and click the “Entry Form” link to access the Competition web page (“Competition Page”) or submit online at

4.2  Follow the instructions at the Competition Page to download the Entry Form or submit your invention entry online. ASK YOUR TEACHER, PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN TO HELP YOU FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING THE COMPLETION OF THE COMPETITION ENTRY FORM AND REVIEW THESE RULES.

4.3  The Competition Entry Form will ask you to provide information such as your name, grade, email address, and your parent or legal guardian’s email address and telephone number. The Competition Entry Form will also ask you to name and describe your invention, and answer questions about the kind of invention it is and how it is used. You are also strongly encouraged to include photographs, drawings, or illustrations (“Pictures”) of your invention, as long as the Pictures do not include a person and do not show a trademark or product of another company. All Pictures must be created by you (or a photograph taken by you); do not use clip art or templates. Your teacher, parent or legal guardian can help you answer the questions, but your entry must be your work alone.

4.4  Review these rules with your parent or legal guardian. By submission of your Competition Entry Form you agree to follow these rules and be bound by them.

4.5 Send your completed Competition Entry Form to “Innovation Express Invention Competition, 180 Pine Avenue North, Oldsmar, Florida 34677.” Alternatively, you may submit your invention online at or fax to 800-807-3531.

4.6  Your entry must be received by Sponsor by the deadline to be considered for the finalist competition the following month (February).

4.7  Once you have sent in your entry, it cannot be changed unless you have submitted it online.  Online submissions may be changed and updated up to the final entry deadline. When Sponsor receives your entry, all entry submission materials will become the property of Sponsor, and will not be returned to you. No entry will be returned upon completion of the Competition. Sponsor will not be responsible for, and will have the right to refuse, any entries that have been tampered with, or entries that are misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible, whether due to Internet or e-mail server failure, postal mistake or delay, or otherwise. Once you submit your entry, it is your responsibility to keep all contact information for you and your parent/legal guardian current with Sponsor. Sponsor will not be responsible for any failure to contact you or your parent/legal guardian if the contact information you provide is not kept current. To update contact information, please contact Sponsor at

4.8  You may only enter the Competition one time per year.

5. Judging. As long as your entry meets all of the requirements listed in Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 above (“Active Entry”), it will go into the judging process. A panel of judges will evaluate the Active Entries. Judging will occur as follows:

5.1  The judging of the inventions will be based on the following criteria: (1) the creativity and originality of the entry; (2) the quality and persuasiveness of entrant’s reasoning on why the invention has value; (3) the benefit to people; (4) the marketability of the invention. The top six (6) competitors will become finalists (“Finalists”).  Three are selected from elementary schools and three from middle schools.

5.2  The Judges will then evaluate each of the Active Entries of the Finalists again based upon the criteria set forth in Section 5.1 above in a live presentation at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus at a live presentation. Six (6) finalists will give 3-6 minute presentations on their invention. Finalists must appear for the presentation to be eligible for the grant award. All finalists will receive awards.

5.3  Entrants may be required to provide additional information to Sponsor or the Judges in order to facilitate evaluation of the entries.

6. Grant Award. The 1st place (grand prize) winner will each receive a check for one thousand dollars ($2,500). The grant awards are to further research, education and/or commercialization of the awarded technology by the Winner and his/her respective school. The 2nd place winner (first runner up) will receive one thousand ($1,000). The 3rd place winner (second runner up) will receive five hundred ($500). The remaining three finalists will receive one hundred dollars ($100).

8. Representations. By entering the Competition, you represent and warrant that: (a) you meet all eligibility requirements of the Competition; (b) in entering and participating in the Competition, you have complied and will comply in all respects with these Rules and all applicable statutes, regulations, and other laws; (c) you are not violating any agreement by which you are bound, including any confidentiality or license agreement; and (d) the entry consists entirely of your own original work in which you hold all rights, and does not copy or misappropriate any rights of any other individual or entity.

9. Limits of Liability; Release. By entering the Competition, you and your parent/legal guardian agree that Sponsor and any Co-Sponsor will not have any responsibility whatsoever for losses or damages of any kind that result from entry or participation in the Competition or the acceptance, possession, or use of the prize. Under no circumstances will you be permitted to (and you hereby waive all rights to) claim punitive, incidental, and consequential damages or other damages. To the maximum extent permitted by law, by entering the Competition, you and your parent/legal guardian release and hold harmless Sponsor, the Judges, the Co-Sponsors and any of their affiliates, and their respective officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives, from any and all responsibility or liability (including, without limitation, for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind, such as compensatory, direct, incidental, consequential, punitive, or other damages) arising out of or relating to: (a) the Competition; (b) claims based on copyright, trademark, or patent infringement, or infringement of other intellectual property rights; (c) the acceptance, possession, receipt, or use of any prize; (d) any entries that have been tampered with or that are misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible; (e) computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, hardware, or software malfunctions or failures; garbled or jumbled transmissions; Internet or website accessibility or delays or U.S. postal delays; (f) printing or typographical errors in any Competition-related materials; (g) any other technical or human errors occurring in connection with the Competition; and (h) any claim that Sponsor or any Co-Sponsor has infringed your proprietary rights by developing or manufacturing a product similar to your entry. You and your parent/legal guardian understand and agree that if anyone makes any claim against Sponsor or Co-Sponsor arising out of or relating to a claim that your entry infringes the proprietary rights of a third party, you will pay for any damages, losses, liabilities, costs, penalties, and expenses, including without limitation attorneys’ and experts’ fees and costs, incurred in connection with such claim.

10. Termination. Sponsor reserves the right to suspend, modify, or end the Competition at any time prior to the End Date for any reason, in its sole and absolute discretion, including without limitation in the event of fraud, abuse, or technical or other difficulties. In such cases, Sponsor will send an e-mail notification to the e-mail address associated with each entry.

11. Advertising AND PUBLICITY. To the maximum extent permitted by law, by entering the Competition, you and your parent/legal guardian consent to the use by Sponsor, or any third party chosen by Sponsor, of any and all information related to the Competition in any manner permitted by these Official Rules. All such information becomes the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. By entering the Competition, you and your parent/legal guardian grant to Sponsor the right to use any of your contact information to contact you for any reason related to the Competition, and Sponsor, or any third party chosen by Sponsor, may use any of your information for any other purpose if Sponsor first receives written consent from you and your parent/legal guardian regarding such other purpose, except to the extent prohibited by law. By entering the Competition, if you are selected as a Finalist or a Winner, you and your parent/legal guardian grant to Sponsor and the Co-Sponsors the right to use and publish your name, state of residence, likeness, photograph, video, voice, and biographical material and any other information in the winning entry, both online and in print, for Sponsor’s or any Co-Sponsor’s advertising, marketing, promotion and other purposes, except to the extent prohibited by law.

12. Applicable Law. The Competition is void outside the United States of America (and also void in Puerto Rico), and where prohibited by law. Any dispute arising out of or relating to these Rules or the Competition must be brought exclusively in the state courts located in Hillsborough County, Florida, and Sponsor and you and your parent/legal guardian irrevocably waive any objection to the venue and jurisdiction of such courts. If any part of these Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, illegal, or otherwise unenforceable, such part will be modified by such court to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable while preserving to the maximum extent possible the original intent of Sponsor, and the remaining parts of these Rules will remain in full force and effect.

13. Finalist/Winner List; Mailing List. A list of Finalists and Winner names will be posted at

14. Miscellaneous. Entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by the decisions of Sponsor and the Judges which are final and binding in all respects. Entrants who violate these Official Rules, tamper with the operation of the Competition or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to Sponsor, the Competition or any other entrant (in each case as determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion) are subject to disqualification from entry into the Competition. Sponsor reserves the right to prohibit participation in the Competition of persons whose eligibility is in question or who have been disqualified or are otherwise ineligible to enter the Competition.

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