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Teen Gets Patent on School Project

June 29, 1998

CLIFTON, Va. (AP) _ Unhappy with the poor quality of a set of plastic shelves she had bought for her school locker, Rachel Kurtis didn’t get mad. She got inventive.

Kurtis designed a sturdier, pre-assembled set and called it ``Lockerpal.″ The project got her a grade of A+ on her Invention Convention school assignment. It also got her patent number 5746331.

Rachel, now a veteran of the entrepreneurial process at age 13, received her patent last month. It gives her exclusive rights to manufacture and sell her shelves in any size and with any material for the next 20 years.

Five of Rachel’s young friends already bought sets for $20 apiece, and her older brother got one free. She said didn’t do any marketing while waiting for the patent.

``Now, I’m probably going to blab,″ she said Sunday, thinking about the 400 potential buyers among her fellow students at Flint Hill School.

It takes about three hours for Rachel to make one set of the shelves, which fold up and are held in place by what she calls a ``stop bar.″ She plans to stockpile them this summer.

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