Dr. Kurt Schroder awarded Inventor Of the Year Award by Austin Intellectual Property Law Association

Dr. Kurt Schroder, AIPLA Inventor of the Year

Austin, Texas – October 5, 2023 – Dr. Kurt Schroder, a distinguished plasma physicist with degrees from both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Texas at Austin, has been honored with the prestigious “Inventor of the Year” award by the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) for his remarkable contributions to the world of innovation. His award was presented at the annual Judges’ Dinner on September 27, 2023

Each year, AIPLA recognizes outstanding advancements in intellectual property innovation, where dedicated members of the Awards Committee seek and evaluate nominations for both individual inventors and teams of inventors who will be honored with the prestigious “Inventor of the Year Award.” The committee explores the impacts and applications of such inventions and chooses the most influential and eligible nominee.

Dr. Schroder’s career has been marked by groundbreaking inventions that have significantly impacted various industries. He holds 41 US patents and over 65 foreign patents in multiple fields, including mechanical engineering, chemistry, pulsed power, radiation, nanotechnology, printed electronics, and semiconductor processing. Today, he is the Chief Technology Officer for PulseForge, Inc., in Austin, Texas, where he is the scientific lead in technology as well as patent portfolio development.

One of Dr. Schroder’s most celebrated inventions originated as a side project during his graduate studies at the University of Texas, where he conducted groundbreaking research leading to notable improvements to the ordinary hammer. This resulted in a hammer having reduced vibration, enhanced momentum transfer, and was also cheaper to manufacture. It played a pivotal role in the elimination of repetitive stress disorders among construction workers. The innovative technology attracted the attention of the market, resulting in patent infringements that led to litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. Ultimately, an out-of-court settlement led to the licensing of this technology to multiple hammer manufacturers. Today, most hammers sold in the United States incorporate Dr. Schroder’s invention, and total sales have exceeded a staggering $3 billion.

In 2004, while working for Nanotechnologies, Inc. (now PulseForge, Inc.), Dr. Schroder printed some silver nanoparticles his team had synthesized onto a piece of paper. He then used the flash of a $7 disposable camera to sinter the particles instantly, thereby forming an electrically conductive trace. He coined the term “photonic curing.” His team then made an impressive effort to scale up the tiny camera flash to develop the most powerful, commercially-available flashlamp system in the world.

This compact tool has now replaced energy-intensive and bulky industrial ovens, enabling the cost-effective, mass-production of electronic circuits on rolls of ordinary plastic and paper. This technology has been employed in the manufacturing of hundreds of millions of consumer electronic devices and has also been applied to the rapid soldering of circuit boards. More recently, it has been used in the semiconductor industry to make advanced computer chips.

Dr. Schroder’s pioneering work in this area earned him the “Inventor of the Year” accolade from the Texas State Bar in 2012. Additionally, his contributions have been recognized nationally, as he is a two-time recipient of the prestigious R&D 100 Award, an honor bestowed upon the top 100 inventions in the United States each year.

Dr. Schroder’s relentless pursuit of innovation and his profound impact on multiple industries make him a deserving recipient of the “Inventor of the Year” award from the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association. PulseForge is proud to have had the guidance and expertise of Dr. Schroder as a scientist for the last 23 years.

In his award speech, Dr. Schroder spoke about the dichotomy of an inventor. “An inventor initially appears to be a pessimist because everything is viewed as having flaws, but in reality, an inventor is an optimist because there is the constant vision of a future where everything is improved upon. However, without engineers, production specialists, access to capital, marketing, and sales staff, these improvements cannot come to fruition. And without patent attorneys, these improvements cannot be protected, so thank you!”

About the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association
The Austin Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting and protecting intellectual property rights. AIPLA recognizes outstanding individuals and their contributions to the field of intellectual property through various awards and initiatives.

About PulseForge, Inc.
PulseForge, Inc. utilizes applied energy in a precise and targeted manner to enable innovation in industrial manufacturing. Our equipment and expertise empower our customers to explore novel materials and manufacturing methodologies, driving dynamic and efficient production at an industrial scale.