Invention Convention U.S. Nationals 2020 Rules

These are the official rules of The Henry Ford Museum’s 2020 Invention Convention U.S. Nationals.

Online Competition

The 2020 Invention Convention U.S. nationals will be an online competition this year. As such please review the below rules as many of the requirements of past years’ have changed.


This is an invitation-only event. Each Invention Convention Worldwide Affiliate partner is allocated a certain number of invitations to extend to the best members of their respective programs. A limited number of invitations are also allocated for the top scoring inventors from Invention Convention Worldwide’s Independent Inventor Program. If you are a school not in one of our affiliated areas, you can connect with our event through our Independent School Program


Inventors from grades K-12 who have entered affiliate member competitions and/or Invention Convention Worldwide’s Independent Inventor or School Programs and won an invitation to our event are eligible to take part in this competition. This competition is open to both individual and team competitors.

All projects must have:

  • A six-minute (max) unedited and continuous video of the pitch.
    • As there will be no in-person judging this year, your video presentation will be how judges score your invention and your presentation. As such, the maximum length of the video has been increased to follow the presentation guidelines. This video will also be used to for the purposes of originality scoring, specialty awards, and for judges to use in case of a tie during the competition. We understand that health and safety guidelines will make it impossible for some to have all their team members present for the video presentation, therefore teams are encouraged, if necessary, to pick one member of their team to present their invention, or to use an a teleconferencing platform (Zoom, Microsoft teams…) to record a group presentation with the team members from their own homes.  
  • A prototype (which may be non-working)
    • We understand that inventors may no longer be in possession of their prototypes, but the judges must have something to view. If re-creating their prototype is not a viable option, please upload pictures) if available), or drawings, or blueprints.

Optionally, students may also present:

  • An inventor’s log (logbook or journal) (Click here for the logbook policy and the logbook)
    • If you wish to be considered for the log book award, you have the option to upload your logbook for judges to score. There is no maximum page limit, but you do not have to upload every page, just the sections that are recommended in the guidelines.
    • You must record the journey of your invention process in a log or diary. Every time you work on your invention, you should document your process, challenges, failures, and triumphs. You should be sure your invention is new and original, or an innovation on something that already exists. You may use the USPTO website to search patents and/or type in keywords that describe your invention into search engines/shopping sites. Working with experts is also a great way to enhance your project.
  • A poster board/trifold (Click here for a checklist with more information)
    • As with the logbook, if you wish to be considered for the Display Board Award, you have the option to upload photos of the different elements of your board for the judges to go over.
    • You must design a display board about your invention. The board will highlight key points of the invention process. The requirements for the board are listed on the Inventor’s Checklist, but we also encourage your creativity! 


  • Teams may compete against individuals, and vice versa, for select award categories.
  • Teams are limited to four or fewer members.
  • Health and safety guidelines may make it impossible for all team members to participate in the video presentation. Therefore, not all team members must be present during the video presentations, but their names must be stated during the video.
  • Teams only need to submit one logbook and/or display board for their project if they want to be considered for those awards.
  • We ask that all team members upload photos of themselves with their names for purposes of the award ceremony presentation.

Each student can enter only one entry into the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals.  No student can participate in both the team and individual competition.

Teams will take part in the same judging processes as individuals. Rules for teams will mirror those of the individuals. Students will classify their inventions upon registration and will be judged in that category unless changed by the judges. The Invention Convention U.S. Nationals staff and judges reserve the right to combine and/or reconfigure awards categories.