Can I enter a patented or patent-pending idea in this year's contest?

Yes. You may wish to indicate patent status in the check-off box provided on the Entry Form.

I am not ready to disclose my idea on the public web site. Can I still enter the contest?

Yes. On the Entry Form, you can elect not to publish your entry on the web site. You will still be eligible for the grand prize and category prizes, but this will prevent you from competing for popular vote prizes since that is based on public voting. The contest sponsors are not responsible for the protection of intellectual property contained in any of the entries, but will take all necessary precautions to ensure the confidentiality of non-published entries, which will only be viewed by the judges and contest administrators. If your entry is chosen as one of the winners, it will be publicly disclosed when the winners are announced.

Do I lose control over my idea once I enter it in the contest?

No. Per the Rules, the entrant retains ownership of the idea. The contest sponsors are only interested in helping to promote and reward innovative design ideas. There is absolutely NO transfer of intellectual property. 

Can I enter the contest if I reside outside the United States?

Yes. However, eligibility to win prizes is restricted to countries (and states) which do not outlaw a contest with the prize value offered by this contest.

Can I enter the contest with a description shorter than 500 words?

Yes. However, the more complete your entry description, the better your chances of winning. Your visual materials will also improve your chances of winning. Your entry description should cover how the invention works, what makes it novel, how it would be produced, and where it would be applied. If the description is too short and does not cover these points, it will be disqualified.

How do you count words? My word count doesn't look as expected.

The word counter checks for spaces between words. You should paste your text from a plain text format (such as Notepad) to reduce the risk of invisible characters that inflate the word count.  Because of issues with text from other document formats, we allow a small buffer of 515 words before we reject more text in the text input form.

Are entry ideas developed by a team or group eligible to compete?

Yes. The entry should be submitted by the team or group leader whom you designate, and this person should be listed in the “Entrant Name” field. Where prompted on the Entry Form, list all other members of the team.

Can I enter the contest without providing image(s) to illustrate my entry?

No. At least one image is required to accompany the text. This could be a drawing, diagram, photo, or any other visual aid to help the judges. The illustration(s) must complement the descriptive text. A generic photo or photo of the entrant will be rejected. Entries without any associated images will be disqualified. The image(s) must be uploaded and submitted electronically with the Entry Form. You must have ownership of or authorization to use the images you submit. Stock photos may not be used without first obtaining the rights to do so.

I would like to submit more than one image. Can I do that?

Yes. You can upload up to three separate images when submitting your entry.

Can I mail supplemental materials to support my entry?

No. We cannot accept any materials by mail or e-mail. We can only accept the text, illustration(s), and (optional) video when you complete your Entry Form online.

How many ideas or designs can I submit?

There is no limit to the number of entries you can submit, but each entry must be a substantially different design idea. Identical or very similar ideas in multiple categories from the same entrant or entry team will be disqualified.

Is it possible to include photos of a prototype model in my contest submission?

Yes. Any type of image, including photos of prototypes, can be submitted, provided they are in one of the valid image formats indicated on the Entry Form.

Are any prototypes required?

No. Prototypes are not required. If you do have a prototype, you should indicate this on the entry form where asked.

Can I submit a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file? 

No. Only entries with valid illustration formats will be accepted via the web site. Accepted formats include PDF, GIF, JPEG, and PNG.

May I submit a design idea that I submitted in a previous Create the Future contest?

Previous entries may be resubmitted if there is an update or significant change to the design, or if new applications have been identified.

I registered for a previous contest. Do I need to register again this year?

No, if you have entered the contest in 2010 or later you do not need to re-register. However, if you last entered the contest prior to 2010 you will need to re-register.

Are there file size limitations for illustrations?

File sizes must be kept under 2MB per illustration and PDF documents should contain a single image each. If you attempt to submit larger files, the entry form upload may time out.

When trying to submit my entry, I received an error message "File extension not allowed!"

That is most likely because you attempted to submit an illustration in a file type we do not accept. File type options include PDF, GIF, JPEG, or PNG.

If I enter the contest with an idea that isn't patented, how is it protected?

When you enter you have the option to hide your entry from public view, in which case it will only be seen by the contest administrators and judges, and only revealed publicly if chosen among the winners.
There is a small amount of risk in publishing your idea if you do not have or do not plan to apply for a patent, but otherwise how will your idea see the light of day and attract potential partners and funding sources?

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Can I update or add something to my entry?

If your description was incomplete, you should delete your entry and re-enter. You may do this by 1) logging in to the site with your email address and password; 2) going to your profile page at http://contest.techbriefs.com/profile where you can delete your original entry; and 3) resubmitting your entire entry using the entry form. We cannot accept separate e-mail addendums or revisions.

Can I update my "Meet the Entrant" questionnaire responses?

Yes. You may log in to the web site to edit this information from your entrant profile page.

Can I change my "Meet the Entrant" questionnaire responses without changing my page views count?

Yes. You may change your questionnaire responses and it will not change your page views count. 

How do I delete my entry?
How do I change the category of my entry?
How do I make my entry public/private?
How do I check my entry's status?

Login to the contest site and visit your profile at http://contest.techbriefs.com/profile.
At the bottom of the page you will see your entries.
Here are the instructions:

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What does "qualification" mean?

Qualification is a pre-filter on entries to verify they meet the contest requirements as described in the Contest Rules. Administrators will screen out inappropriate or incomplete entries before the judges receive the entries.

My entry was declared "unqualified."  Can I fix it?

You may fix it by signing in, deleting the old entry, and re-entering.  Entries cannot be edited after submission and qualification review. The most common reasons for disqualifying entries are: 1) no illustration provided; 2) entry description is too short; 3) illustrations submitted in an unacceptable format and/or with an excessive amount of text. An entry may also be disqualified if deemed frivolous by the administrators.

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How does voting work?

To vote, you must register with us, providing some basic contact information.  After you register, you will be able to log in using your password.  When you log in, you will have the option of casting one vote per entry. You can also post comments or questions about entries. Voting takes place on the entry description page.

Can I vote if I entered the contest? Can I vote if I didn't enter the contest?

Yes, voting is possible for both contest entrants and visitors to the site.  Entrants should use their existing email login and password and do not need to re-register to vote. Please tell other people to vote!  The more votes cast, the more reliable the results will be.

How long do I have to cast my votes?

Voting will continue until September 9, 2024, 11:59 pm EDT.

What impact does the popular vote have on the judging for grand or category prizes?

None. The selection of the grand prize and category winners is based on the scores of an independent industry panel, who judge the entries strictly on the criteria listed in the Rules.

Why do I need to register to vote on entries?

We require voter registration to ensure a fair voting process...one vote per entry per person. This information is not shared or published. It should take less than a minute to register, and then you can vote on as many different entries as you would like once you log in.

Why did the number of votes decrease for my entry?

The Contest Administrators will adjust the vote counts at any point in the competition to discount votes from registrants who have not registered properly or who attempt to vote for a single entry multiple times (including any attempt to use e-mail aliases). Votes will not count if the registrant does not accurately complete the required fields on the registration form or if the registrant attempts to enter fraudulent data.

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How do sponsors benefit from underwriting the contest?

Sponsors are supporting the contest to help create opportunity and goodwill among members of the design engineering community. Links within the site will help interested visitors and participants learn more about sponsor products and services.

Does the use of sponsor products influence the selection of winning entries? 

No. Winning entries will be selected an independent panel of judges on the basis of three criteria: innovation, feasibility/manufacturability, and marketability. 

Can I still win if I’m not an engineer or a scientist?

Yes. We encourage entries by students and entrepreneurs.

I found something offensive on the site or in an entry. Can you please do something about it?

If you see something that is offensive, contact the contest administrators. We will review it as soon as possible.

If you have other questions about the contest, please contact the contest administrators.

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