EIA 2016: A symbol of vibrant innovation

15 June 2016

EPO President Benoît BattistelliLast week in Portugal, the EPO held the 11th edition of its European Inventor Award in front of a packed audience and media from across the world at the MEO arena in Lisbon. In the presence of Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Commissioner Carlos Moedas, the winners in each of the categories were finally revealed. The ceremony was the grand culmination of a selection process that had started over six months earlier with a call for nominations of inventors from across Europe and beyond.

I offer my congratulations to all the finalists for their achievement in getting through to the final stage and in particular to those who ultimately won in their respective categories. Their accomplishments are all the more impressive due to the exceptionally high level of competition this year. When we opened our call for nominations in the second half of 2015, the EPO received over four hundred proposals from national patent offices, individuals, IP associations, businesses and the EPO’s examiners, among others. There is no doubt that the men and women of our independent jury were left with an exceptionally tough task in selecting the fifteen finalists. I would therefore like to express our gratitude to this group of renowned experts, chaired by Mr José Luis Arnaut, for their diligent deliberations and firm commitment in assessing each of the nominations. But the quality of the inventions, the inspiring inventors and the European Inventor Award in general highlight two key trends that are materialising.

Firstly, innovation in Europe is thriving. Its heart was beating loud and clear at our award ceremony in Lisbon. The breadth and depth of the nominations attests to a Europe in which our economy is bolstered by world class inventors and supported by robust intellectual property. We have also seen that vibrant state of European innovation and IP reflected recently in our annual results. Last year, we witnessed an overall rise in applications of 4.8%, marking the sixth successive year in which we have seen an increase with little sign of abating.

Secondly, the interest from the public and the wider media in the awards continues to grow and speaks of a desire to publicly recognise those who are, quite simply, making the world that we live in a better place and have changed our daily lives. It is little wonder; finalists and winners this year included those who had developed better diagnostics for HIV and other infections, major advances in automotive safety used the world over, inventions for cleaner, healthier air, and an engineer regarded as the most cited in history. In addition, over 56,000 people cast their vote in the popular prize – 10,000 more than last year. Media from across Europe and as far away as Asia (China, India, Japan and Korea) and the US profiled the finalists and awards, in addition to live transmissions on national and international TV.

It is our hope that this award will continue to build upon the unprecedented interest that we have witnessed this year and continue to assert itself as the ‘Nobel prize’ of innovation. For it is the EIA that allows us to shine the spotlight exactly where it should be: on the inspiring men and women who are leading the world of innovation and research.

Benoît Battistelli

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Categories: European Inventor Award

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