The Northwest Herald reported three PR seniors, Calvin Breseman, Tanishq Dubey and Gustavo Farias, had - in their own spare time - created an Android app that predicts whether a school snow day will occur.
The trio named their invention Snow Day Calculator. The app works when users input data such as snowfall total expected, when snow will start and how long it is expected to snow. The boys used a past storm as a benchmark for their app formula and adjusted it to get "perfect-to-this-point results," the story said.
The Northwest Herald story, stating the app was downloaded more than 1,000 times its first week out, was quickly picked up by the Associated Press, which serves newspapers and media sources throughout the world. Articles entitled, “Illinois Students Invent Snow Day App” popped up everywhere.
NBC-5 Chicago ran the AP story and attached graphic artwork from the Snow Day Calculator to its piece.
One problem - while the artwork was from the Snow Day Calculator website, it’s not the same app invented by the Crystal Lake teens.David Sukhin, a New Jersey native and current student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says he is the original inventor and owner of the Snow Day Calculator.
“I invented the Snow Day Calculator in 2006 when I was in sixth grade and the website has been in use since 2007,” Sukhin said by telephone.
Sukhin said there have been many copycat inventions since his, and for that reason he trademarked the Snow Day Calculator name in 2011.
“It is unfortunate the Prairie Ridge students have used the trademarked name and the idea of my tool to create their Android application,” Sukhin said. “I’ve always prided myself on being the first one to invent it.”
Sukhin said he doesn’t typically take legal action against inventors who infringe upon his trademarked name. Normally, he sends them a letter or message informing them they cannot use the name.
“As long as they are not deliberately misleading people I don’t take that kind of action,” Sukhin.
Sukhin said the two apps are different.
The Prairie Ridge students’ app requires users to manually input their data, he said, and his app automatically calculates the local weather data and factors in many variables.
Sukhin’s app sells for 99 cents. He did not reveal the app’s overall sales totals; however, he said in December alone his Snow Day Calculator was downloaded 5,000 times.
His website, Snow Day Calculator, is free to students (and parents) wanting to see their chances of having a school snow day.
The Crystal Lake teen’s app was published by Boreas Applications, and is free to users.
Patch made several attempts to reach the three Crystal Lake teens, but was unsuccessful.