Think about IP!

When you conceive, design and create an innovative product as part of the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge competition, you are creating intellectual property that belongs to you. When you start work on your product, you should think about whether you want to try and protect your intellectual property through patents or confidentiality agreements.

You should bear in mind that venture capitalists and other investors usually consider whether the intellectual property in an innovative product has been kept confidential or claimed in a patent application, in deciding whether to invest in efforts to commercialize the product.



Consider filing a provisional patent application. The Conrad Foundation encourages all teams to consider filing a United States provisional patent application covering their product and including any important confidential details before submitting any materials that you think may include your unique ideas and inventions. If your team is based outside the U.S., you may want to investigate filing a patent application in your home country.

You can find information regarding the process and requirements for filing a provisional patent application, the easiest and least expensive type of utility patent application, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website, at

A provisional application for patent is filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later filed nonprovisional patent application. It also allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied in connection with the description of the invention.A provisional application for patent has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding nonprovisional application for patent during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.