US Patent 9403084 Issued


After four years of working on my Number Linx® puzzle, I am excited to announce that I have been issued the US patent for Polygon Puzzle and Related Methods (Patent No. 9403084). It appears to be the first utility patent issued for a puzzle in 20 years!

Why isn’t the name of my puzzle in my patent? The answer lies in the fact that there are multiple kinds of patent. In the past, I have received a design patent (Patent No. D737905) on Number Linx and our number characters, 0-9. According to the US Patent Office, a design patent is for a specific product. Design patents are “Issued for a new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture, it permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the design.” On August 2nd, however, I received my first utility patent;  it protects my concept, no matter its configuration. A utility patent is “Issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof, it generally permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a period of up to twenty years from the date of patent application filing” (

Patents are public information for anyone to see; they can be found online or at the US Patent Office in Washington, DC. They are long though, this one is 13 pages of legal language with lots of drawings to illustrate exactly what is being protected.

To obtain my patent, I had to prove to the US Patent Office that there had never been a puzzle like it, with a polygon for each number made up of a varying number of polygons with the same number of sides. I began that long process almost exactly two and a half years ago.

In 2012, Graham Campbell cut the first prototype of Number Linx and we presented it together at the Chicago Toy Fair. When I finally began the patent application process in 2014 I had to demonstrate each part of Number Linx and explain how the puzzle is innovative. Listening in to many calls with patent examiner Steven Wong, I guided my lawyer in how to best present my puzzle and its unique features. All that work came to fruition when my patent was issued on August 2nd, 2016. That means my idea is protected, and no one else can make or sell a puzzle or something similar to Number Linx/Puzzling Polygons or the cards.

What good news after so much hard work – NumbersAlive! celebrated with some yummy cake!

Is There Such A Thing As A “Math Person?”

Is math ability determined by nature or nurture? Miles Kimball of Quartz, an online news outlet, claims that “everyone should think of herself or himself as a ‘math person.'” According to a “2007 National Institutes of Health Public Access twin study…genes account for somewhere in the range from 32% to 45% of mathematical skill at age 10.” That means that over 50% of mathematical skill is determined by the environment, and it is therefore crucial to make sure kids are surrounded by a math-positive environment.

“If a kid has a bad experience with trying to learn to read in school, or is bored with the particular books the teacher assigned, few parents would say “Well, maybe you just aren’t a reader…” Similarly, if a kid has a bad experience trying to learn math in school, or is bored with some bits of math, the answer isn’t to say “Well maybe you just aren’t a math person.” Instead, it is to find some other way to help that kid with math and to find other bits of math that would be exciting for their particular kid to help build her or his interest and confidence.”

Check out our products for fun and innovative ways to do just that!

Read more at:

North Carolina Museum of Art Thought Partners Summit

January 30


Dr. Klemm serves as a Thought Partners for NCMA. Thought Partners help stimulate and guide the planning process by:
• contributing questions/issues current in their respective fields,
• sharing their unique vision for the future of education,
• responding to guiding questions generated by the planning team,
• recommending international models,
• helping to identify gaps in knowledge and practice,
• responding to the team’s vision statement and outcomes, and
• recommending ways of disseminating team solutions and models nationally.

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