Diversity & Inclusion

Women in IP case study

Xanthippe Barnes – UK’s youngest female patent holder

Nine-year-old Xanthippe Barnes, of St George’s School Windsor Castle, has invented a snow-clearing robot, with a top-fitted kettle that melts the snow, in a school design and technology project.

She showed her idea to her father, Chartered Patent Attorney and CIPA Fellow Phil Barnes of Barnes IP, Windsor, who quickly realized that Xanthippe may have created a novel invention. He helped Xanthippe file for a UK patent and one year later it was granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office, when Xanthippe was just eight.

“It was a snow day and we were doing home-school,” Xanthippe explained. “We were told to design a robot to do with snow, so I designed the RoboSno™, which moves using tracks and helps to clear snow or leaves from gardens. It can do machine learning, so it can tell what it is collecting and where it’s going, and it has a boot to kick balls out of the way.”

Her mother, Clare, said:

She told her teacher that she couldn’t hand in her homework because it was patent pending and, unsurprisingly, the teacher didn’t believe her. She had to hand in her patent application number to convince them.

Xanthippe has since also obtained a trade mark for the name RoboSno™.

“She has had two offers to buy the technology, but she would like to make it herself and feels very proud and protective about it,” added her mother.

Proud dad, Phil, added: “All our research shows that she’s most likely to be the youngest female holder of a granted patent in the UK, so we’re extremely proud of her achievement. As an employer and a parent, I’m keen to encourage both girls and boys to consider STEM careers, following a science or engineering degree, since it may lead to them becoming a patent attorney in the future. We hope Xanthippe continues producing great ideas!”

Date Published: 26 April 2023

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