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About EPO – European Patent Office


The 11th edition of the European Inventor Award will be held on 9 June 2016 at the MEO Arena in Lisbon, Portugal

Celebrating the spirit of innovation

The driving force behind the innovation process is people – people with a passion for discovery. Without their inquisitive minds, their quest for new ideas and their creativity, there would be no inventive spirit and no progress. As one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind, the European Inventor Award pays tribute to the creativity of inventors the world over, who use their technical, scientific and intellectual skills to make a real contribution to technological progress and economic growth and so improve people’s daily lives.

Launched by the EPO in 2006, the award gives inventors the recognition they deserve. And, like every competition, it acts as an incentive for other potential winners. It helps to protect ideas and encourage innovation.

The finalists, by category

Industry: The Industry Award is presented in recognition of inventors of outstanding and commercially successful technologies patented by large European companies. These are companies that have more than 250 employees and an annual turnover of more than EUR 50 million.

icon-epoVirna Cerne, Ombretta Polenghi (Italy)
Gluten substitutes from corn

WINNERS 2016 | Bernhard Gleich, Jürgen Weizenecker and team (Germany)
Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI)

Joan Daemen, Pierre-Yvan Liardet and team (Belgium, France)
Secure smartcard encryption

SMEs: This Award honours the people behind inventions at small-to-medium-sized enterprises, ie companies that had fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 mln when the patent was granted. Ideally, the invention will have been a commercial success and helped the SME to expand its business.

Arminas Ragauskas (Lithuania)
Ultrasound to safely measure brain pressure

WINNERS 2016 | Tue Johannessen, Ulrich Quaade, Claus Hviid Christensen, Jens Kehlet Nørskov (Denmark)
Ammonia storage to reduce NOx

WINNER POPULAR PRIZE 2016 | Helen Lee (United Kingdom, France)
Diagnostic kits for developing countries

Research: This Award is presented to inventors working at universities or research institutions. Inventions presented in this category will often have led to major technological progress and enhanced the reputation of the inventor’s institution.

WINNER 2016 | Alim-Louis Benabid (France)
Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

icon-epoElvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins (Portugal)
Paper transistors

Miroslav Sedláček (Czech Republic)
Rolling fluid turbine

Lifetime achievement: This category honours the long-term contribution of an individual European inventor whose dedication and tireless efforts – and patented landmark inventions – have had a major impact on his/her field of technology and society at large.

icon-epoTore Curstedt (Sweden)
Helping newborn babies breathe

WINNER 2016 | Anton van Zanten (Germany, The Netherlands)
Electronic stability control for cars

Alain Carpentier (France)
Implantable artificial heart

Non-European countries: This category is open to all inventors who are not European nationals, regardless of the size or turnover of the company applying their patented invention. However, the invention or related products must be available and enjoy considerable commercial success in Europe.

WINNER 2016 | Robert Langer (USA)
Targeted anti-cancer drugs

Arogyaswami Paulraj and team (India, USA)
Faster wireless connectivity

icon-epoHugh Herr (USA)
Biomechatronic leg joints

Popular Prize

A new award category added in 2013, which goes to the European Inventor Award finalist who receives the most votes from the public from among the 15 finalists in the run-up to the ceremony. Votes can be cast online on the EPO website or on social media channels from 26 April until 31 May 2016.

Determining the winners

Any member of the public can nominate an inventor for the European Inventor Award. The selection process relies on the hard work of EPO experts and an independent international jury that evaluates innovations not only on their technological originality but also on their economic and social impact.

Call for submissions: Proposals are invited from the public, national patent offices and the EPO staffEvaluation of proposals by the experts: A panel of EPO experts rigorously checks the proposals to ensure that they meet the procedural and legal requirements and that the relevant patents are still valid.Shortlist of the candidates: A shortlist consisting of about 40 pre-selected candidates across the five categories is prepared for the jury, including detailed reports on the merits of the inventions.Announcement of the winners: The winners in the five categories are announced at the award ceremony.Announcement of the finalists: The EPO officially announces the names of the finalists to the public.Jury’s decision: During a face-to-face meeting, the jury selects three finalists in each category by majority voting before finally selecting the winners.