SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Cassidy Goldstein was 11 years old when she came up with an idea to make it easier to color with nearly used-up crayon stubs: crayon holders made from the plastic tubes used to keep flowers fresh.

Goldstein, now about to start her sophomore year at Syracuse Universityr, was honored recently as Youth Inventor of the Year for her idea, which has been patented and is for sale online and at some stores.

“I essentially just went about my house and tried to find something, almost like in school how teachers have a chalk extender,” says Goldstein, 18, who received the honor in Washington, D.C., from the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation. “I wanted to find something that would hold the crayon in place and extend it.”

Goldstein, of Scarsdale, N.Y., says her crayon holder sells for about $1. She estimates she makes about $5,000 annually in royalty checks.

She is a communications major in Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The day Goldstein came up with her idea, she used plastic tubes from flowers her father, Norm Goldstein, had given her mother, Marci Goldstein. Her mother saw her daughter stick crayon stubs in the tube and realized Cassidy had a great idea.

Norm Goldstein, who worked in licensing and business development, helped his daughter through the patent and commercialization process. Cassidy Goldstein’s patent was approved when she was 14.

As she and her father refined her patent application, they came across thousands of kids’ ideas that hadn’t made it through the patent process, she says.

So in 2003, Norm Goldstein founded and became president and chief executive officer of By Kids For Kids, a Stamford, Conn., company that helps children and their parents in patenting and commercialization.

“For a professional it’s a challenge, let alone a kid,” says Daniel Gwartz, chief operating officer of By Kids For Kids.

The company works with child inventors whose ideas are geared toward kids and have the most potential for marketplace success, Gwartz says. The kids and their families pay nothing. By Kids For Kids gets a portion of royalties for inventions it helps to get licensed, he says.

Gwartz says By Kids For Kids is representing about 35 inventions in various stages of development, including five in the marketplace.

RB END BUCZEK

(Nancy Buczek is a staff writer for the Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard. She can be contacted at nbuczek(at)syracuse.com.)



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