Press Release 411
Geneva, July 5, 2005


"Inventions and Patents" is the first in a new series of publications about intellectual property (IP) for school children as the creators of our future (available at The publication is part of efforts by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – in response to numerous requests from member states – to provide practical and detailed IP curriculum materials for use in classrooms around the world.

Combining fun with facts, and packed with examples, the publication takes its young readers on a colorful journey through the world of inventions and patents. Easy-to-follow explanations of how patents work, why we need them, and how they contribute to scientific and technological progress are combined with the stories behind successful inventions, as well as young inventors who have patented and commercialized their ideas. Inventor Profiles are drawn from around the world, and teachers may supplement these by encouraging their students to research inventions from their home country.

"Young people are our future," said WIPO Deputy Director General, Mrs. Rita Hayes. "They are the creators – and the consumers – of tomorrow. Developing a sustainable IP culture must include providing them with positive and informative messages about IP. This new series is a major step in that direction."

The publications are aimed at students from 8 to 14 years of age and take the form of a self-contained work-book, which can be freely photocopied for classroom use. Taking a hands-on approach, it teaches the theoretical through the practical, and IP concepts through case-studies. To play the PCT Detective game, for example, students learn to search WIPO's online PCT database for patent applications corresponding to a given description. "Think about it" boxes pose questions to provoke individual reflection and classroom debate. WIPO's PCT - Patent Cooperation Treaty – facilitates the process of seeking patent protection in multiple countries.

Much of the material can be integrated into science classes. Teachers can build on the information provided by discussing with students the scientific principles behind some of the featured inventions, such as the combination of concave and convex lenses in the telescope, or the laws of thermodynamics in the Nigerian "pot-in-pot" cooling system.

"Inventions and Patents" encourages students to recognize in themselves the essential qualities of curiosity, creativity and perseverance, which enable individuals to invent. It concludes with a roadmap for invention, taking students through the whole innovation process from idea, to IP protection, to commercialization.

The series is designed to respond to increasingly frequent requests from WIPO member states and other groups for information products and educational material for younger audiences. WIPO is planning three further volumes, to cover the topics of copyright, trademarks, and industrial designs.

The publication is free-of-charge and can be downloaded from the WIPO website (e-bookshop) in PDF format. It will also be available in an interactive online format in the near future. Print copies can be ordered at

For further information please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at (+ 41 22) 338 81 61, 228 95 47 Fax: (+41 22) 338 82 80, E-mail: