Harvesting Greatness: Stoel Rives’ Paul Angello Aids Oregon High Schoolers in Obtaining US Patent for ‘BroccoliBot’

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PORTLAND, Ore.—What is believed to be the first U.S. patent granted for a high school group’s invention in robotics was secured by the Crescent Valley Robotics team of Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Ore., for its “BroccoliBot” broccoli harvesting robot. Intellectual property attorney Paul Angello of Stoel Rives in Portland worked with the student inventors on a pro bono basis, by preparing and filing two applications, which resulted in the students procuring U.S. Patent No. 11,343,967.

Last evening, Crescent Valley High School hosted a celebratory event honoring the student team’s achievements. Several of the alumni student inventors were in attendance, and the adult mentors who assisted the team presented on their journey in creating the BroccoliBot. Angello also attended and spoke on the significance of the patent achievement, and the BroccoliBot prototype was prominently on display.

Angello was initially approached with the opportunity to help the robotics team by Patrick Freeman, a robotics team mentor. Freeman serves as chief technology officer for Microtec, a client of Angello’s and Stoel Rives. Angello agreed and devoted more than 120 hours of service to assist in applying for the patent for the team’s BroccoliBot robot prototype, which required the gathering of extensive and intricate information including drawings and software code information in direct collaboration with the student team.

“It was an honor to work with this pioneering robotics team from Crescent Valley,” Angello said. “I know of no situation in which high school students have been granted a U.S. patent on any school project, much less one with the degree of complexity and utility this one exhibits. This is not a paper patent; it discloses actual working hardware, supported by sophisticated operational process algorithms and computer programming flowcharts. What these high school students have accomplished is extraordinary.”

The alumni students awarded the patent, and their years of graduation, are: Mae Evens (2020), Duncan Freeman (2018), Abraham Mes (2018), Micah Mes (2020), Genevieve Nelson (2018), Carter Precourt (2020), Genevieve Sauret (2019) and Danielle Scutero (2020).

While the creation of the BroccoliBot was completely student-driven, student-designed and student-executed, several adults supported the team including: Tanya Carone, Crescent Valley Robotics Team coach; Charles Dupuy, longtime mentor and advisor to the robotics team and district advocate of the program; Patrick Freeman, longtime mentor to the robotics team and software engineer who reviewed the patent applications, and father of student inventor Duncan Freeman; Peter Mes, longtime mentor to the robotics team and facilitator of the project and father of student inventors Abraham and Micah Mes; and Karen Patrick, longtime mentor to the robotics team.

Peter Mes initially brought the project to the robotics team after learning of the Oregon State University Department of Agriculture’s development of a type of broccoli intended for mechanical harvesting. Mes also obtained a grant from the Oregon Processed Vegetable Commission, to assist in funding the project. The students also worked on building most of the BroccoliBot prototypes in Mes’ garage over the span of four summers.

“The BroccoliBot project—all of it—was done by a group of talented and dedicated students,” Dupuy said. “The students did all the mechanical design, the programming, the machining, electrical and technical work to bring their vision to completion. Furthermore, their skills were all self-taught or the result of other students teaching them, and the students most definitely deserve 100% of the credit for this incredible achievement.”

Angello is a member of Stoel Rives’ Intellectual Property practice group that advises technology industry clients. Angello and Stoel Rives’ support of this accomplishment reflects the firm’s commitment to contribute to the welfare of the communities in which the firm has offices. Stoel Rives lawyers are encouraged to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono service annually.

The BroccoliBot project received funding support from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Oregon Processed Vegetable Commission, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, GK Machine, Norpac, P&R Seeds, Oregon State University, and Hytek Plastics (no longer in operation).

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Paul S. Angello
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