Written by Jack Bauer.
York Region District School Board (YRDSB) was one of York University’s first Knowledge Mobilization partners in 2006. Ten years later, six YRDSB high school students attended a patent workshop as part of York’s programming for entrepreneurship, Launch YU. Three grade 12 students (Alicia, Jake, Kanav) and three grade 10 students (Bronx, Lei Lei, Mingze) were part of a growing collaboration between York University and YRDSB on entrepreneurship. Making connections between high school and university students supports engagement between York University and its local communities. Thank you to Jake Bauer for writing this post.
As the only high school students present, we felt unique and truthfully a little out of place at first sitting at the very front of the room at the LaunchYU Write Your Own Provisional Patent Application seminar on March 7. I was part of a group of six York Region District School Board secondary students who travelled to York University to sit in on this seminar.
The seminar was mostly geared towards people in university, people with previous entrepreneurial experience or people who had an idea and wanted to learn about the process to get it patented. As everyone was going around the room introducing themselves, our only reaction was “Wow.” People from all walks of life were there. There was someone who had started previous companies and had a patent certificate with him. There was someone who worked on mass spectrometers and someone who worked in the biotechnology industry. Sitting right beside us was an accountant in a PhD program at York University. To us this was almost surreal; to be surrounded by incredibly smart and accomplished people while we were still in high school and still wondering about how to enter the “real world.”
We attended this seminar because of our own interest in getting our ideas out to the public and what was involved in making sure they were protected. We can definitely say that we learned a lot about patents and the many things that could go wrong during the patent creation process. The presenter, Andrew Currier of PCK Perry + Currier, was very friendly, funny and open to answering all the questions that people had, which made the seminar seem very personal and close rather than a session to absorb information.
One of the things that stood out was that, regardless of whether or not we would personally go on to need a patent, we learned a lot about how to properly and effectively express ideas so that they could be clearly understood by someone who has no clue about your idea or invention. We also learned how much money it would take to get a patent approved.
Opportunities like these are not often openly accessible to high school students; we heard about this through our principal because York Region District School Board is working with organizations like LaunchYU to try to make events like this more accessible. We are glad to have been part of the first steps towards opening up opportunities like this to other students in high school because it would make an unimaginable impact if every student took advantage of opportunities like these.
Thank you to David Phipps, Executive Director of Research & Innovation Services at York University for offering us this opportunity to share our experience through his blog.