The Atwood Innovation Plaza helps Dixie State University students, faculty and community members have access to the resources needed to patent their products.
On bad days all you need is a reminder that everything will be OK. Amber Murray, a St George resident, came to this realization after personally struggling with mental health.
“After personally struggling with suicidal thoughts, I wanted to make a difference,” Murray said.
Murray went to the Atwood Innovation Plaza to receive help from a patent expert, Wayne Provost, founder and director of the Atwood Innovation Plaza Guidance and Solution Center. Murray was able to patent her idea of creating mirror decals that have an array of positive messages. This idea soon turned into the company, See Your Strength.
One See Your Strength mirror decal states: “What is your worry telling you?”
The Atwood Innovation Plaza has created patents from hair curlers and baby products to jewelry and medical products. Alumna Majere Wintch has a product called Oxyswitch — a disposable oxygen valve that allows a seamless switch between oxygen delivery devices by care providers.
“I’m three years into my project and I’ve felt nothing more than consistent partnership, progress and honest good care as we grow this company,” Wintch said. “It’s been a great experience.”
Alumna Deshka Olson was sitting in class one day when her professor mentioned taking products to the Atwood Innovation Plaza if you wanted them to be patented. Olson took multiple ideas to Provost for advice on the best idea. Olson designed and patented the product, No Gag Dip & Dab, which helps to reduce gag reflex.
“Deshka has applied for a world patent status,” Provost said.
With the help of Provost and the Atwood Innovation Plaza team, DSU is able to grow its patent program.
“Innovation is the way life is going right now,” Provost said.
In order to receive a patent, the individual must first sign a non-disclosure agreement.
“It’s not who invented it first, it’s who got their first,” Provost said.
Within two weeks, commercial research is completed and a patent search is done to guarantee the product does not already exist. Provost will then meet with the student again to discuss the idea in more detail and complete a market analysis to see how needed the product is. The prototype is then made in the Makerspace at the Atwood Innovation Plaza.
Provost said: “With the Makerspace, we can do anything we want. We can build almost anything.”
Once the product is approved, the mentors step in for funding, and then the product is taken to a patent attorney. The patent attorney will help to review the product and explain to Patent Office Examiners why it is unique.
Provost said: “You’re gonna fail all the time; anyone who told you they never failed is lying. The students who succeeded with their ideas are the students who are dedicated, they believe in themselves, they believe in their product, and they’re willing to work really hard. If it wasn’t hard everybody would be doing it.”