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Hopkins students win competition, are patent pending with help from Patterson Thuente IP

May 9, 2022 | Firm News

The Great Gatsbys Team in Hopkins won a Lego league championship with a small assist from Patterson Thuente IP attorneys. 
The Great Gatsbys team (photo courtesy of Hopkins Public Schools).


Three students from Hopkins, MN, won a Lego league championship with a small assist from Patterson Thuente IP attorneys. 

The Great Gatsbys — a team consisting of sixth graders Evelyn Cameron and Gavin Ferro, and seventh grader Lucian Pier — took home first place in a 417-team competition for their invention project at the Minnesota Boston Scientific FIRST LEGO League Challenge State Championship in February. 

The invention: a biodegradable packing product and pet litter made entirely of recycled materials that is now patent pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Assisting on the legal side were Patterson Thuente attorneys Daniel Bruzzone and Amy Salmela, and law clerk Erin Herdeman. 

“The students came up with a really thorough invention disclosure and detailed slide decks with pictures and descriptions,” Bruzzone said. “We just translated that into patent speak and encouraged alternatives and variations that they might want to go with in the future.” 

The multi-use product, composed of recycled wood and paper, aims to help reduce the waste that comes from animal litter and packing materials like Styrofoam peanuts. The students successfully tested the invention as a shipping product, cat litter and pet bedding. 

The students believe that having a patent application on file helped them advance and ultimately win the competition, Bruzzone said.  

In addition to winning the Minnesota competition, The Great Gatsbys were one of four teams nominated for the Global Innovation Award, for which they will have the opportunity to showcase their invention in St. Louis, MO, in front of a global audience from June 21 to June 23.  

“We want to wish the students well for the competition in St. Louis and we commend them for their outstanding accomplishments thus far in the process. Having intellectual property at their age is something to be proud of,” Bruzzone said.