Inventors entered for the award must have been granted at least one European patent for their invention by the European Patent Office, maintained in force in at least one EPO member state.
Any inventor of any nationality who has at least one European patent can be nominated. Inventors from one of the EPO’s 38 member states are eligible for the Industry, SMEs, Research and Lifetime achievement categories, even if they are currently living outside Europe. Inventors from outside the EPO’s member states can only be nominated for the Non-EPO countries category.
You can nominate a team of inventors. Several teams have won the award in the past.
Entries will not be considered if:
- the patent has not yet been granted by the EPO
- the relevant patent is subject to pending opposition or appeal proceedings
- the relevant patent is within a nine‑month notice of opposition period
- the patent has been revoked
- the patent has lapsed or expired in all EPO member states
- they have already been finalists or winners in previous European Inventor Award competitions.
The European Inventor Award is presented in five categories:
- 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.
- Research: This Award honours 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.
- Non-EPO Countries: This category is open to all inventors from outside the EPO’s 38 member states, 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.
- SMEs: This Award is presented to the people behind inventions at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are companies that had fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million when the patent was granted. Ideally, the invention will have been a commercial success and helped the SME to expand its business.
- 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.
No, all technologies for which a European patent can be granted will be considered.