Every year at EDmarket manufacturers introduce their new ideas that allow students and educators the opportunity to better perform in the classroom. But when walking around the EDspaces exhibit floor, did you ever wonder which company originated an idea and which ones are copycats? To acknowledge and encourage innovation, EDmarket is proud to announce the launch of a new Patent Showcase that recognizes and promotes companies who are the leaders in the development of impactful educational products and equipment. The Patent Showcase provides architects, designers, distributors and school purchasing officials a reference tool for specifications and bids.
“The idea was initiated by conversations with EDmarket’s Equipment Manufacturers Council,” says EDmarket President/CEO Jim McGarry. “The Patent Showcase will demonstrate to the industry who the innovators are and why these new ideas are important in educational facilities. We are excited for EDmarket to become the repository of innovation for the industry.”
Following the U.S. or International patent process — the EDmarket emblem signifies confidence that innovation is at the forefront. Any EDmarket member manufacturer who has earned a U.S. design or utility patent or has a patent pending designation may apply to have their ideas included. The EDmarket Patent Showcase aims to recognize the innovative products and ideas in this industry and to recognize their investment, ingenuity, and commitment to student success. The program celebrates new thoughts and ideas while providing greater recognition for companies that invest time and resources in their products.
“This is a great idea!” says Mark Beebe, Partner at Lancer+Beebe, LLC. “As someone who specifies interiors for educational facilities, it will be great to know which company originated an idea and who are the ‘me too’ copycats. As a designer, it is ethically important to acknowledge where innovation emerged and the EDmarket Patent Showcase gives us a tool to reference for our specifications and bids.”
Patents in the EDmarket Showcase are classified as either DESIGN or UTILITY. Let’s look at their differences.
Utility Patents Protect The Way a Products Works
A utility patent can be for a new or useful process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or an improvement of something already in existence. It is a complex and expensive process to obtain a utility patent and therefore gives much credibility to the patent owner. The life of a utility patent is 20 years. The inaugural showcase participants in the utility category include the following:
- Fleetwood – Rock Stool, Soft Rock Active Base, Flip & Nest Table, Evoke Seating
- Luxor – KwikBoost EdgePower® Battery-Powered Desktop Charging Station
- Paragon – Maker Invent Table
- Screenflex – Stabilized Portable Room Divider
Design Patents Protect The Way a Products Looks
A design patent protects the unique visual qualities of a manufactured item. These qualities may include a distinct configuration, surface ornamentation, or both. The patented invention must have usefulness beyond its aesthetics to be legitimate. Obtaining a design patent is typically less involved and quicker than a utility patent. The lifetime of a design patent is 15 years. Current showcase participants in the design category include the following:
- Artcobell – NXT MOV® Seating
- NorvaNivel – RockerOtt, TeMakr, Genci, SlabWrx, IncuPod, STEAMspace
Finally, it is important to note that some inventions could have elements that make them eligible for both a utility and a design patent.
Through innovation and unparalleled invention these manufacturers are designing for the next generation of learners. Interested in joining the prestigious list of innovative companies? If you have a patented product that you want others to know about, then consider joining the EDmarket Patent Showcase. Apply now to have your products included in this dynamic resource for the education market.