A Bridge to Success: First Patent Application Under Student Pro Bono Scheme Proceeds To Grant

Dr James Stones & Dr Sarah-Jane Crawford | November 2021

We are delighted to announce that the first UK patent application filed under the Beck Greener student pro bono scheme has proceeded to grant as GB2578686B.

The application was filed in September 2019 and granted almost two years to the day after it was filed.  The patent protects a temporary "necklace" bridge designed for rapid deployment by emergency relief services.  The invention was created by student inventor, Siana Zhekova, as part of a school engineering project when she attended Westminster Academy in London.

A figure from the patent is shown below.  

The temporary bridge may be deployed by firing flexible supports across a space to be bridged.  After being secured at the opposite side of the space, light-weight rigid units are threaded over the supports to span the gap.  The key to the invention is the tensioning system used to form a rigid bridge platform across which people and vehicles can be transported from one side of the gap to the other. 

The patent could protect the invention for Siana through until September 2039 and hence will form an important part of plans to commercialise the invention. 

The pro bono scheme is a key part of Beck Greener’s community outreach project, STEM: Branching Out, which is intended not only to provide advice and support for school-aged students interested in protecting any intellectual property (or "IP") coming out of their school projects, but also to raise awareness of IP as a possible career path in sections of the community that are currently underrepresented in the IP professions.

We hope that we will have more opportunities in the future to help aspiring young inventors to protect their inventions.