This morning was my son’s first day at Camp Invention, a week-long daily program that immerses kids in learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM.) Because if we learned nothing else from 80’s teen movies, we learned that the geeks grow up to be wealthy and powerful owners of tech companies. And while I like being an attorney, Mama wouldn’t mind if her boy bought her an island one day.
Camp Invention is run by a non-profit called Invent Now in partnership with the US Patent and Trademark Office. So while I’m filing and maintaining trademark applications with the USPTO during my work day, my son is learning about innovation and inventions with the USPTO during his day.
While the kids don’t get any direct lessons in the “property” part of intellectual property (ie, the part where you get to own and profit from the thing you create) they do get the “intellectual” part, while they design and create and engineer. They put on safety glasses and use screwdrivers to take apart discarded appliances. They collect unused junk from around the house and upcycle it to build simple machines and devices (last year they each designed and built a Duck Chucker, and then had a contest to see who could catapult a rubber duckie the furthest.) They design sustainable cities and pretend to adapt to the environment of a new planet. Seriously creative and brainy stuff, that one day might lead to the newest app or a smarter smart phone (like maybe an autocorrect that actually works? Or maybe someone can get Siri to hear “find the nearest gas station” instead of “mine my dearest’s last expectation?” I mean, why would I even say that Siri?! I’m in my car talking to my phone not writing frickin’ poetry!)
Tomorrow is crazy hat day, so I’m already thinking about what kind of fantastic hat he and I can create together. I’ve got it in my head that I would like to build a paper version of Marie Antoinette’s wild hairstyle from the 18th Century, the one with the giant ship?
I don’t know who designed this for the Queen, but I love that almost 300 years later, we still marvel at the idea. Some crazy hairstylist with a vision and dream put an entire freaking ship on the Queen’s head! It apparently became a fad for a bit, and then faded away, but that idea, and the guts to do it, have lasted for centuries.
That’s one of the things I love most about our clients. Every single one of you has a brilliant idea or innovation, a flash of genius that you want to share with the world. Who knows? Maybe 300 years from now human/robot hybrids will be sitting around their colony on the moon and talking about the thing you invented or designed or improved.
And maybe, just maybe, 15 years from now I will be sitting on my island drinking something with rum and an umbrella funded by my son’s patented zombie brain transfer machine (see illustration above.) I probably won’t be practicing law in that case, but I will still want to hear about all of the cool things all you innovators and dreamers are doing. Just maybe after my nap in the hammock.