Twelve candidates from nine countries are competing this year for the European Inventor Award 2010, a highly regarded innovation prize presented annually by the EPO together with the European Commission to honour outstanding inventions. The prize, which is purely symbolic and involves no material recompense, is awarded in four categories: Lifetime achievement, Industry, SMEs/research and Non-European countries. The award honours individual inventors, or teams of inventors, who, through their pioneering work, respond to the challenges of our time, thereby contributing to progress and prosperity. The four winners will be chosen by a high-ranking international Jury and will be presented with their prizes by EPO President Alison Brimelow in Madrid on 28 April 2010.
The nominees include inventors of pioneering innovations in a wide range of fields, from the conservation of drinking water to the synthesis of football-shaped carbon molecules or "fullerenes", and from cancer treatments to digital data encryption. Other nominations relate to to ground-breaking research on the mobile use of fuel cells and to "green" plastic. In addition to countries with a tradition of innovation such as France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United States of America, this year’s contest also sees candidates from Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Spain.
Nominations for the European Inventor Award can be made by the inventors themselves or put forward by patent examiners from the national patent offices and the EPO. A panel of EPO experts checks all proposals received to ensure they satisfy all criteria with respect to form and content before they are submitted to the jury.
The shortlist for the European Inventor Award 2010 includes among others:
Hermann Grether, Christoph Weis (DE): The Perlator, a jet regulator for water taps, provides an effective means of saving precious drinking water.
Albert Markendorf, Raimund Loser (CH): Three-dimensional laser-controlled measuring system for quality control in the automotive and aerospace industry with maximum-precision metrology.
Jürgen Pfitzer, Helmut Nägele (DE): Arboform, the "green" alternative to plastic; this natural polymer is currently used around the world in the manufacture of car parts, children’s toys, furniture and much more.
Albert Gelet, Jean-Yves Chapelon, Dominique Cathignol, Emmanuel Blanc (FR): Ultrasound treatment is now an integral part of a highly effective device for fighting prostate cancer.
Wolfgang Krätschmer (DE): Krätschmer’s procedure for synthesising C60 carbon molecules (fullerenes) helps to develop new lubricants and fuels, electronic superconductors and polymers designed for data storage.
Désiré Collen (BE): Collen’s findings in the field of blood clots broke new ground in medication for strokes and heart attacks.
Danny Epp, Ben Wiens (CA): Hydrogen fuel cells for many mobile applications, utilised today in many buses around the world.
Napoleone Ferrara and his team (US): The cancer drug Avastin inhibits the growth of cancer cells and is the basis for a gentler, focused therapy.