Invention Contest Offers Big Opportunities for Penn Students

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Media Contact:Greg Lester | | 215-573-6604November 15, 2004

PHILADELPHIA The University of Pennsylvania has announced an invention contest that offers something of which its founder, inveterate inventor Benjamin Franklin, could only dream: cash and free licensing representation.

PennVention is a contest for Penn students looking to develop, patent and commercialize their inventions.  The Weiss Tech House, a Penn gathering place that supports students in developing new technologies, is sponsoring the event and will offer mentoring opportunities for the contestants.

Through PennVention, students will vie for an opportunity to present their innovations this spring before a panel of faculty and corporate experts.  At stake is more than $25,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity for professional representation by lead sponsor Competitive Technologies Inc., a technology transfer and licensing provider.  Competitive Technologies estimates the commercial value of its offer of representation to be worth more than $50,000, not including potential royalties.

"While always a place for innovation, in recent years the Penn campus has generated an enormous amount of excitement around developing technologies and entrepreneurship, especially among undergraduate students," said Karl Ulrich, faculty director of the Weiss Tech House.  "We're simply looking to harness this creative drive and provide students with the tools, resources and experience necessary to take a good idea and make it into a commercial product."

The grand prize winner, as determined by the judging panel, will receive $5,000 in cash, with $2,500 and $1,000 awards going to second place and third place.  An additional prize, named after Leonardo da Vinci, of $5,000 and an offer of representation from Competitive Technologies will be awarded to the winning person or group whose invention has the greatest potential for commercial success through licensing.

Details on the contest and a list of potential prizes is available at the Weiss Tech House Web site:

The Weiss Tech House is designed to support undergraduates in the development and/or commercialization of innovative technologies. The Weiss Tech House was made possible by a gift from George Weiss, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus and founder of George Weiss Associates Inc., a money-management firm.  Additional information is available at