When most of us think of patents we think of powerhouse companies such as IBM, Google, GE and Proctor & Gamble.
Though the vast majority of patents go to companies, individual inventors also earn patents, and occasionally those inventors can be surprisingly young and ingenious.
Enter two school girls who live in Pleasanton, Calif., home to The Rose Hotel. Sisters Fiona and Orla Lamont invented and patented a product they hope will sell to homes, food and packaging industries, laboratories and police departments.
In 2009 Fiona and Orla, recently featured in a Pleasanton Weekly article, conceived an idea for a combination scraper, scooper and container they call the Yuckease.
“We were watching some of the police programs and how they would have to pick up the evidence,” Orla told the Pleasanton Weekly. “There was no good way they had to do it. We came up with something that could pick things up and keep them in.”
Sixteen different prototypes of the product were created. With help from their parents the girls hired a patent attorney.
Fiona, a 17-year-old senior at Foothill High School, and Orla, a 12-year-old Pleasanton Middle School student, used a fast-track application to get their patent approved. Though it typically takes years to get a patent, Yuckease sailed through, moving from idea to patent in less than two years.
Though they sometimes use M&Ms to demonstrate the pick-up power of the Yuckease, Fiona says, “We use it for picking up tarantulas,” pointing toward the hill behind their home. (See a demonstration video of the Yuckease being used to harmlessly pick up a tarantula.)
The Yuckease isn’t on the market yet because the Lamonts are still refining their strategy before deciding on a manufacturing, distribution and marketing plan.
So what is the Lamonts advice for other would-be inventors?
“I think the main thing people need to do is not sell themselves short,” Fiona said.
Orla added, “Just work hard at it and don’t say you can’t. Believe in yourself.”
And, of course, we hope you will support the Lamont girls by purchasing a Yuckease when it eventually hits the market.
Written by Mike Consol