Utah mother becomes certified inventor with new patent
SALT LAKE CITY — An entrepreneur, artist and mother of four children who are all under 5 years old can now add "certified inventor" to her resume thanks to a brand new patent.
Maura Crowther said she came up with her "baby bobber" out of necessity while raising her four young kids, including one set of twins.
With two toddlers already, Crowther learned she was pregnant with the twins and her days and nights quickly became filled with picking up pacifiers, bottles and toys.
Her invention aims to keep young children occupied and can be moved from place to place to keep up with an active lifestyle.
The "baby bobber" is a clamp arm that hooks onto a stroller, crib, rocker, or car seat and can hold a rattle or toy to keep the attention of a child.
"I sketched it out in the middle of the night and kind of got, sort of a vision of what I wanted and that kind of started the process," she explained.
The process led her to a place she didn't even know existed, the Patent and Trademark Resource Center or PTRC, at the University of Utah.
For more than 200 years, if an individual wanted to get a patent, they'd have to travel to headquarters in Washington D.C. About a decade ago, congress enacted a law that opened multiple regional and satellite offices throughout the country, including one at the University of Utah and one at Utah Tech University in St. George.
Crowther thought attaining a patent for her invention was a long shot at best but after a few emails and meetings, experts at the PTRC got things moving.
"I mean, right from the get-go, they were awesome," she reflected. "I kept offering like, what can I do here, what do I do there - and they make the process super, super smooth and easy. Very, very helpful in breaking down the steps."
After several months and additional correspondence with an attorney, Crowther finally got her patent.
She hopes her experience encourages others to obtain a patent for their work.