Requirements and Restrictions

Listed below are the Requirements and Restrictions for participating in the California Invention Convention on April 25, 2020.  All participants must adhere to these rules — they ensure that the Exhibit Hall is safe and that all the inventors have equal opportunity to show their inventions.

In order to participate in the California Invention Convention and the National Invention Convention (NIC) in the Spring, there are certain restrictions and requirements. Unless noted otherwise, all requirements and restrictions apply to both the California State Invention Convention and NIC.

  • The teacher must sign off on the inventor’s solution/invention before he/she begins building the design using the Intent to Invent.
  • Remember that animals are not allowed at the conventions, so if the invention is for animals, it must be demonstrated in pictures – or on a stuffed toy. Demonstrations/presentations may not include human beings or living creatures.
  • The display board must be no larger than 24”’ with the wings folded in.
  • The inventor MUST have a COMPLETE, SIGNED (by the student and the teacher) Invention Log. This log must be kept on an ongoing-basis from the beginning of the project and should reflect the student’s invention process.  Inventors will be judged on the completeness of the Invention Log.
  • The invention does not have to be a working model, but the inventor needs to be able to explain how it would work. If it can be operational, it should be.
  • Inventors may not use lighters, matches, candles or any other open flame or heat source or anything material or liquid considered combustible.
  • Inventions may not contain biohazards or utilize any materials that are, or could, become dangerous.
  • Other restrictions include: electric stun guns, martial arts weapons, guns, replica guns, ammunition, fireworks, knives of any size, mace, pepper spray, razors, box cutters or balloons.
  • A four minute video must be submitted two weeks before the competition.  Videos submitted later will not be eligible for industry category awards.  Guidelines for creating the video are on the sidebar or  can downloaded as a PDF  Creating Your Video
  • We ask that each invention is categorized according to the list below. It may be that an invention doesn’t exactly fit one of these categories, but have the student choose what is closest. The categories are also required for the National Convention.
    • Agriculture (Food, Machinery, Tools), Pets, and Animal Care
    • Consumer Goods and Fashion – If your invention doesn’t fit into any of the other categories and it something people would buy, then is a consumer good.
    • Earth, Environment and Geosciences
    • Education (Technology, Systems, Tools, Hardware) – anything that helps students or teachers in the classroom or students and their homework.
    • Energy (Efficiency, Clean Technology, Generation)
    • Public Safety – Your invention can be for the improving the safety of the public, rather than an individual.
    • Health and Medical Technology
    • Home Organization
    • Home Technology, Smart Homes, Appliances
    • Household Tools –
    • Sports, Games, Entertainment, and Toys
    • Technology/Wearables – technology with a purpose that can be worn =
    • Transportation – improving the means of transporting or travel from one place to another
  • Additional National Invention Convention restrictions:
    • The prototype/invention should be no more than 2 feet high and 2 feet wide and be able to set on a table top.
    • Plug-in electricity is not available. Batteries or power packs are fine
    • If the invention cannot be actually demonstrated at NIC due to issues with size, electricity, or hazardous materials, a video of the device in action can be shown.
    • In order for the student to compete, each inventor MUST submit an unedited video no later than 2 weeks before the competition.  The video is not to exceed four minutes.  During this video, the student will present the problem, the solution and how they achieved the solution – as well as any issues that had to be overcome.  The invention/prototype and display board can be used as visual aids – along with anything else that helps the inventor present the invention.
"Kids Inventing Their Future"