Daily Briefs

Patent attorney Michael Doerr provides pro bono IP counsel to middle school robotics team

Harness Dickey announced this week that a pro bono project led by firm principal and patent attorney Michael Doerr has reached the next stage in an effort to protect scooter safety technology developed by a middle school robotics team. On behalf of the East Hills Middle School Great Engineering Kids of Tomorrow, also known as the GEKOT Robotics Team, Doerr recently filed a non-provisional U.S. patent application for their Collision Alert Technology for Scooters (CATS).

 According to the team’s website, scooter accidents led to 40,000 injuries and 29 deaths in 2018. Combined with a rapid increase in scooter and “micro-mobility” offerings in urban areas in recent years, new safety measures were needed. CATS aims to cut down on these accidents using a combination of sensors, controls, and alerts.

CATS previously helped the GEKOT Robotics Team win the “Innovation Award” at Michigan’s 2019 State Robotics Championship. Winning the award prompted the team to consider patenting their technology, but they soon realized they would need outside help with the process. That was when East Hills Principal Jason Rubel reached out to his neighbor, Michael Doerr.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to provide guidance, education, and assistance to the GEKOT Robotics Team on the patent process and the considerations that go into protecting technology and intellectual property,” says Doerr. “Harness Dickey turns 100 years old next year, and we have a long history of community support, so we were happy to say ‘yes’ to this pro bono opportunity.”

Doerr worked closely with the GEKOT Robotics Team to prepare both an initial provisional patent application and a more formal version, called a non-provisional patent application, which he filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on November 23, 2020. Doerr also worked with a colleague at a Chinese law firm to file a corresponding patent application in China.

According to GEKOT Robotics Team coach Dan Champoux, Razor USA has expressed an interest in CATS. Filing a patent application will allow the team to safeguard their technology while sharing a prototype and discussing it with the large scooter manufacturer.

The next stage for the GEKOT Robotics Team and their CATS technology will occur sometime in mid-2021, when the USPTO is expected to publish the patent application.


New lawyers ‘Social Hour’ hosted by FBA, Feb. 11

The Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of Michigan Chapter  will host an online “Social Hour” Feb. 11 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. to meet 80 new members and to connect with old friends and colleagues. 
FBA members are encouraged to grab their favorite “Zoomocktail” and stop by the happy hour from the comfort of their own home.  To register for the Zoom access, visit www.fbamich.org and click on “events.”


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