European Inventor Award

FAQ - European Inventor Award

Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO countries, and Lifetime achievement

Conditions for proposing an inventor or entering yourself

Minimum formal conditions

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.

What are the requirements for inventors nominated for the European Inventor Award?

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.

What if more than one inventor worked on an invention nominated for the European Inventor Award?

You can nominate a team of inventors. Several teams have won the award in the past.

Are any inventors excluded?

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  • the patent has been revoked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.

What are the five European Inventor Award categories?

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.

Are any areas of technology excluded?

No, all technologies for which a European patent can be granted will be considered.

Formal criteria for proposing an inventor or entering yourself

What documents do I have to submit?

Complete the mandatory part of the entry form and as much of the optional parts as you are able.

Inventors nominating themselves must also submit their current CV with their contact details.

What languages can I use on the form?

English, French or German.

How do I submit the entry?

You can submit your entry in three ways:

  • by filling in the entry form online
  • by e-mail, with the completed entry form, to: european-inventor@epo.org
  • by post in an envelope addressed to:
    European Inventor Award
    c/o European Patent Office
    80298 Munich, Germany

Young Inventors prize

Conditions for proposing an inventor or entering yourself

What at the minimum formal conditions?

The Young Inventors prize is open to any individual or a group of individuals a maximum age of 30 years at the time of the European Inventor Award ceremony.

Is this prize restricted to any location?

No, individuals or groups worldwide may be nominated.

Do nominees have to be named as an inventor on a granted European patent?

No. Unlike the other Award categories, a granted patent is not a pre-requisite.

Can children under the age of 18 be nominated?

Yes. A legal guardian will need to provide signed consent for children under 18 to participate in the prize.

What type of initiatives can be considered?

You may submit any idea, project or product in any field of technology which is supported by written or audio-visual material. Only public/published initiatives will be considered as this avoids the risk of unwillingly disclosing information that may impact future patent applications.

What types of supporting documents are accepted?

As part of a nomination, supporting documents will need to be provided. Not all supporting documentation can be considered to have equal weight. Please refer to the hierarchy below as a guideline:

  1. Granted patents
  2. Granted utility models
  3. Patent applications or utility model applications
  4. Published scientific papers
  5. University thesis
  6. Case studies
  7. Business plans
  8. Videos or documentaries
  9. Web articles
  10. Sketches

What if more than one person worked on an initiative?

You can nominate a team.

Are any areas of technology excluded?

No, all technologies will be considered. The technology must provide a current or potential solution to an issue outlined the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Formal criteria for proposing an inventor or entering yourself

What documents do I have to submit?

Complete the mandatory section of the entry form, as many of the optional sections as possible, and submit the form with the required supporting documentation.  Those nominating themselves must also submit their current CV or biography with their contact details.

What languages can I use on the form?

English, French or German.

How do I submit a nomination?

You can submit your entry in three ways:
by filling in the entry form online
by e-mail, with the completed entry form, to: european-inventor@epo.org
by post in an envelope addressed to:
European Inventor Award
c/o European Patent Office
80298 Munich, Germany

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