California Institute of Technology
Intellectual Ventures - Caltech


1. General Conditions. Intellectual Ventures-Caltech Invention Competition ("Competition") is sponsored by Intellectual Ventures and the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) ("Sponsors"). Each person who enters the Competition (each an "Entrant" and sometimes referred to herein as "You") agrees to follow these Official Rules (the "Rules") and the decisions of Sponsors and the Judges (as defined below), which decisions may be made in all cases at the sole and absolute discretion of Sponsors and the Judges, and which are final and binding on all matters relating to the Competition.

2. Eligibility. The Competition is open to all Caltech undergraduate and graduate students who will be enrolled full-time during the fall semester 2013. Contestants must be present for judging and the awards ceremony to collect their prizes. Students may form teams with full-time undergraduates or graduate students from Caltech. There is a limit of five team members; small interdisciplinary teams are encouraged. Each team member must provide a description of their contribution.

3. How to Enter. Submissions must be received by October 15, 2013. You may enter as an individual or as a team with up to five members ("Team"). Your submission shall be novel and not be based on any previous work done at Caltech or any other institution. Click here to enter.

Project Topics (pdf). All inventions are eligible, although Intellectual Ventures has provided the attached subject areas that they are especially interested in.

All Entrants/Teams will need to submit a detailed description of
the invention in a short write up (five pages or less) or a PowerPoint
presentation. Each submission must include the following:

  • Written disclosure of the idea, including the following:
  • Abstract — One paragraph describing the invention.
  • Field of invention — Description of the general field of use of the invention (also give examples of the invention's application).
  • Background — Describe the state of the art. (Describe what is currently being done and what is not.)
  • Summary of the invention — Describe specifically how your invention improves upon the state of the art.
  • Claims — A list of novel features that the inventor believes to be original.

4. All Entrants will be required to sign the Caltech Patent Agreement. Click here for patent agreement form.
Print the Caltech Patent Agreement for each member of the team and mail to Office of Technology Transfer, MS: 6-32 or drop off at the 6th floor of Millikan library anytime between 8am-5pm

5. Your submissions must be received by OTT by October 15, 2013.

6. Once you have sent in your entry, it cannot be changed. When OTT receives your entry, all entry submission materials will become the sole property of OTT, and will not be returned to you. No entry will be returned upon completion of the Competition. OTT will not be responsible for, and will have the right to refuse, any entries that have been tampered with, or entries that are misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible, whether due to Internet or e-mail server failure, postal mis-delivery or delay, or otherwise. Once you submit your entry, it is your responsibility to keep all contact information for you current with OTT. OTT will not be responsible for any failure to contact you if the contact information you provide is not kept current.

7. You may only enter the Competition no more than twice, as an individual and on a Team.

8. Judging. As long as your entry meets all of the requirements listed in Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 above ("Active Entry"), it will go into the judging process. A panel of judges (“Judges”) will evaluate the Active Entries. Decisions of the Judges are final.

8.1 The judging of the inventions will be based on the following criteria:

(a) the creativity and originality of the entry;
(b) the quality and persuasiveness of entrant's reasoning on why the invention has value;
(c) the benefit to society; and
(d) the marketability of the invention.

The top five (5) scoring Active Entries (provided there are at least 5 Active Entries) will become finalists ("Finalists").

The criteria will be weighted as follows:

40% Originality, novelty, and creativity of the idea.
30% Utility and importance of the idea.
20% Quality of application materials.
10% Quality of oral presentation.

8.2 The judges will then evaluate each of the Active Entries of the Finalists again based upon the criteria. Finalists will give 5 minute presentations on their invention in November, 2013. Finalists must appear for the presentation to be eligible for the grand prize. Winners from the Finalists ("Winners") will be selected and the prizes awarded in November, 2013.

9. Prize. The first place Winner will receive twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) to be shared equally between members of the team. The remaining prize money will be split among runners-up depending on the number and quality of the Finalists.

10. Announcement; Award of Prizes. An awards ceremony will take place at Caltech, after the final presentations from the Finalists.

11. Representations. By entering the Competition, you represent and warrant that: (a) you meet all eligibility requirements of the Competition; (b) in entering and participating in the Competition, you have complied and will comply in all respects with these Rules and all applicable statutes, regulations, and other laws; (c) you are not violating any agreement by which you are bound, including any confidentiality or license agreement; and (d) the entry consists entirely of your own original work in which you hold all rights, and does not to the best of your knowledge infringe or misappropriate any rights of any other individual or entity.

12. Limits of Liability; Release. By entering the Competition, you agree that Sponsors will not have any responsibility whatsoever for losses or damages of any kind that result from entry or participation in the Competition or the acceptance, possession, or use of the prize.  Under no circumstances will you be permitted to (and you hereby waive all rights to) claim punitive, incidental, and consequential damages or other damages.  To the maximum extent permitted by law, by entering the Competition, you and your parent/legal guardian release and hold harmless Sponsors, the Judges, the Sponsors and any of their affiliates, and their respective officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives, from any and all responsibility or liability (including, without limitation, for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind, such as compensatory, direct, incidental, consequential, punitive, or other damages) arising out of or relating to: (a) the Competition; (b) claims based on copyright, trademark, or patent infringement, or infringement of other intellectual property rights; (c) the acceptance, possession, receipt, or use of any prize; (d) any entries that have been tampered with or that are misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible; (e) computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, hardware, or software malfunctions or failures; garbled or jumbled transmissions; Internet or website accessibility or delays or U.S. postal delays; (f) printing or typographical errors in any Competition-related materials; (g) any other technical or human errors occurring in connection with the Competition; and (h) any claim that Sponsors have infringed your proprietary rights by developing or manufacturing a product similar to your entry. 

13. Termination. Sponsors reserve the right to suspend, modify, or end the Competition at any time prior to the End Date for any reason, in their sole and absolute discretion, including without limitation in the event of fraud, abuse, or technical or other difficulties. In such cases, Sponsors will send an e-mail notification to the e-mail address associated with each entry.

14. Advertising. To the maximum extent permitted by law, by entering the Competition, you consent to the use by Sponsors, or any third party chosen by Sponsors, of any and all information related to the Competition in any manner permitted by these Official Rules. All such information becomes the property of Sponsors and will not be returned. By entering the Competition, you grant to Sponsors the right to use any of your contact information to contact you for any reason related to the Competition, and Sponsors, or any third party chosen by Sponsors, may use any of your information for any other purpose if Sponsors first receive written consent from you regarding such other purpose, except to the extent prohibited by law. By entering the Competition, if you are selected as a Finalist or a Winner, you grant to Sponsors the right to use and publish your name, state of residence, likeness, photograph, voice, and biographical material and any other information in the winning entry, both online and in print, for Sponsors' advertising, marketing, promotion and other purposes, except to the extent prohibited by law.

15. Applicable Law. Any dispute arising out of or relating to these Rules or the Competition must be brought exclusively in the state of California. If any part of these Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, illegal, or otherwise unenforceable, such part will be modified by such court to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable while preserving to the maximum extent possible the original intent of Sponsors, and the remaining parts of these Rules will remain in full force and effect.

16. Finalist/Winner List; Mailing List. A list of Finalists and Winner names will be posted.

17. Miscellaneous. Entrants agree to be bound by these Rules and by the decisions of Sponsors and the Judges which are final and binding in all respects. Entrants who violate these Rules, tamper with the operation of the Competition or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to Sponsors, the Competition or any other entrant (in each case as determined in Sponsors’ sole discretion) are subject to disqualification from entry into the Competition. Sponsors reserve the right to prohibit participation in the Competition of persons whose eligibility is in question or who have been disqualified or are otherwise ineligible to enter the Competition.

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Sponsored by:

Intellectual Ventures


   last update: 05/02/2013