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How Patents Helped Sprout the World’s First Plantable Pencil

It has likely been a while since most of even used a pencil – but would we use them more if they grew flowers, trees and herbs? Enter, Sprout World, a company founded on the concept of sustainability that credits patents as playing a large part in its success. In late 2012, Michael Stausholm, the company’s founder, happened upon a Kickstarter campaign launched by three MIT students for a pencil one could use and then plant in the ground to grow flowers, herbs, vegetables and even trees. “I saw it and thought it was a wonderful idea,” Stausholm says. “I had been working in sustainability for many years and everyone was talking about it, but what was it actually? The pencil was a wonderful way of illustrating the concept.”

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