History Channel Launches Invention Challenge

By Nov 03, 2005

Think you have the next best invention? The History Channel and Invent Now, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, have teamed up in search of the next great invention idea as part of the Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge.

In its first-ever invention contest, The History Channel is challenging would-be inventors to submit invention ideas online at History.com/invent. As part of the process, inventors must apply for a patent application to protect their idea or concept.

“We want to make the kinds of things we have on air more real off air and really engage our viewers and new viewers,” Judy Klein-Frimer, director of brand enhancement for The History Channel, said. “We want to really be able to reach out to the inventor who’s got a great idea and has the opportunity to share this with the world.”

Some of the life’s greatest inventions, including Velcro and the air conditioner, originated from everyday inventors, Klein-Frimer said.

The Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge is named after The History Channel series, Modern Marvels, which depict stories of inventors of the past who made technological breakthroughs or commonly used items through invention and imagination. The contest celebrates man’s ingenuity and gives inventors a forum to be recognized.

The History Channel launched the contest in part to boost awareness of the Modern Marvels series and inspire younger audiences to take part in the challenge. Modern Marvels airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on The History Channel.

A panel of judges, including inductees from the National Inventors Hall of Fame, patent lawyers, representatives from The History Channel and industry technology experts will review the submissions. Judging will be based on the invention’s originality and uniqueness, the inventor’s ingenuity and the invention’s story and its relation to historical precedents. All inventors will retain the rights to their ideas.

Twenty-five semi-finalists will be featured in a science museum tour next spring to exhibit their invention ideas. The tour concludes the week of May 22 at Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall in New York. There, the winner and four other finalists will be announced and have their invention ideas and stories featured during Modern Marvels Invention Week on the History Channel (May 22-26).

The top winner of the challenge will earn the coveted title of “Modern Marvel of the Year,” get a $25,000 grant, be featured on The History Channel during Modern Marvels Invention Week and have their idea exhibited at a national exposition.

The contest targets adults 25 and older, but consumers under 18 can enter with parental permission.

“This is a new domain we are entering in terms of the world of inventions and inventors,” Klein-Frimer said. “Hopefully, this will be a fabulous opportunity for anyone who has the spirit of invention and a big idea.”

The submission deadline is Dec. 31. Print ads in Time magazine, TV spots, p.r. and online materials support. NMA Entertainment, New York City, handles.

The History Channel won an EMMA Award from PROMO Magazine this spring for best cable TV campaign for its Save Our History campaign. The grassroots initiative was designed to get citizens thinking about and acting to preserve local heritage. The campaign included partnerships between the White House and consumer brands, including Bank of America and Lowe’s.

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