Foley & Lardner LLP: Attorneys help Wisconsin student robotics team patent their award-winning invention

Foley & Lardner LLP is pleased to share that the firm recently secured a patent on behalf of a group of students from Wisconsin. Providing counsel to the students on a pro bono basis, Foley helped them secure a patent for their award-winning invention that helps owners monitor the health of their pets.

The team of students, who call themselves “the Brickbusters,” includes eight members, seven of whom are young women. The Brickbusters developed a sensor system called the “Friendchip” to monitor characteristics related to a pet’s health, such as body temperature, blood sugar, and movement, in order to improve the way animals and humans interact.

Now entering college, the Brickbusters were just middle schoolers when they entered their sensor system into the 2017 World FIRST LEGO League competition. After placing in the top three out of 32,000 teams, the students reached out to Foley to help secure a patent for their unique technology.

The Foley pro bono team assisted the students throughout the patenting process, aiding in overall patent strategy, preparing and submitting the application, and empowering the students to make decisions along the way. On January 25, 2022, Foley was able to notify the students that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had granted their patent. 

Foley Partner Nick Zepnick relayed the importance of being an inventor, noting, “it is a special honor and a recognition that this team created technology that no one else had thought of. We are excited by the big things to come for these students and are humbled to have been able to help them achieve their vision.”

Reflecting on the process, the students stated that they hope their patent inspires others, specifically women, to enter the STEM field.

The Foley team was led by Partner Nicholas Zepnick and Patent Agent Arthur Siebel, with significant contributions from Partner Kadie Jelenchick, Special Counsel Matthew Swietlik, and Associate Meghan DeMore.