Collegiate Inventors Competition

Application Coming March 2015!

Enter the Competition


Step 1

Review our eligibility requirements.

Step 2

Refer to our tips for your best shot at success.

Step 3

Submit your entry online.

1. Eligibility

Could you be our next winner? If you meet these requirements, we might just see you in D.C.

Eligible entries must:
  • Represent the original idea and work of a student, or team of no more than four students, along with a university advisor.
  • Be submitted by students who meet our full-time eligibility requirement.
    • Individual entrants must be enrolled as full-time students in any U.S. college or university for at least part of the 12-month period prior to entry.
    • Teams must include at least one member who meets this requirement, and all remaining members must be enrolled at least part-time at some point during the 12-month period prior to entry.
  • Be complete, workable and well-articulated.
    • For example, there must be evidence the invention has been reduced to practice.
  • Prove capable of being reproduced.
  • Be submitted in English.
Eligible entries must not have been:
  • Made available to the public as a commercial product or process.
  • Described in detail in any publication more than one year prior to entry.
  • Issued a patent more than one year prior to entry, aside from rare exceptions that may be made for recent improvements.

2. Tips for Preparing Your Entry

1. Clear

Keep your writing clear, and remember it’s essential to articulate what your invention is and why it is an invention.

The judges are interested in learning exactly what you are contributing to the ideas and technology in your field. Once you’ve completed your submission, consider asking a colleague to read it and evaluate its clarity.

You might consider asking someone who is not yet familiar with your work to review your submission as well. Also, keep in mind spelling and grammatical errors will affect how your entry is judged.

2. Concise

The more concise, the better.

To achieve the best score possible, be sure that your essay covers all requested information, but avoid jargon and superfluous materials that could detract from your entry.

3. Convincing

It’s up to you to convince the judges

that your entry is the very best among the many innovative and imaginative inventions they will see. Remember, while our judges are experienced researchers, they may not be familiar with your unique project or specialty. So be sure to describe your work in a clear and positive manner that can be understood by any scientifically literate person. As an example, it’s best to keep your work along the lines of what you’ve seen published in Scientific American or Nature.

4. Applicant Resources

Refer to the materials below for guidance as you develop the strongest possible entry to support your invention.



Patentability/Literature Searches

Section E: Advisor Letter


USPTO Office of Innovation Development

Visit this site to learn more about the efforts made by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to assist independent inventors, small business concerns and university-affiliated inventors.

The USPTO Inventors Assistance Center (IAC)

The Inventors Assistance Center provides patent information and services to the public. The IAC is staffed by former Supervisory Patent Examiners and experienced Primary Examiners who answer general questions regarding patent examining policy and procedure. Before calling the IAC, please check the Frequently Asked Questions on the USPTO website to see if your questions have already been answered.


Patent and Trademark Resource Centers

A Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) is a library designated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to receive and house copies of U.S. patents and patent and trademark materials. These materials are actively disseminated and made freely available to the public. Virtually every state has at least one PTRC, and PTRC staff are available in those locations to provide training to the public on U.S. patent search processes and research tools.

7-Step U.S. Patent Search Strategy

The Patent and Trademark Depository Library offers a helpful “Quick Start” guide for conducting a patent search. Follow the link for the “7-Step U.S. Patent Search Strategy.”

Online Patent Search Tutorial

The PTRC at the McKinney Engineering Library, located at The University of Texas at Austin, offers an online tutorial on patent searching. While the tutorial was designed for use with the Austin library and its particular resources, the fundamentals of patent searching remain the same for any location.

In addition to the myriad of resources provided here, you may also be able to find additional information on how to conduct patent/literature research by searching online for the key phrase “How to Conduct a Patent Search.”


Please note that you should be extremely cautious when dealing with invention promotion companies. We recommend that you conduct research to make sure any company you are working with, or are considering working with, is reputable. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the USPTO provide online publications designed to help consumers avoid invention promotion scams and improper business practices among such companies.

You may review the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information on Invention Promotion firms here. Click here for the USPTO publication “Top Ten SCAM Warning Signs.”


Invent Now
AbbVie Foundation
United States Patent and Trademark Office

The Collegiate Inventors Competition has provided links to various websites because these sites contain information that may be of interest to students and advisors. Please understand that by clicking on these links, you are exiting the Collegiate Inventors Competition website. Neither the Collegiate Inventors Competition nor Invent Now necessarily endorses the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites.

In addition, neither the Collegiate Inventors Competition nor Invent Now endorses any commercial products that may be advertised or available on any of these sites.

Entry Questions

If you could use our assistance at any point, don’t hesitate to
contact us.

We’ll be happy to help you through the entry process.

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