The European Inventor Award is once again being kindly offered by the European Patent Office: the race to find the winner of the 2010 competition is now on. The IPKat is anxious that this prestigious award should go to the most deserving applicant. Sadly, however, whoever wins will have to abide by the rules of the competition ...
According to the EPO's website,
The IPKat urges readers to make the most of this exciting opportunity. They can download the 24 page competition brochure here. The self-entry form is here and the form for nominating others is here. The deadline for entry is 12 September 2009, so there's no time to lose!
"The European Inventor Award was set up to reward the highest levels of excellence. This is why all entries must satisfy certain formal requirements [But is there truly a connection between the reward of excellence and the satisfaction of formal requirements, the Kat wonders].
There is one common denominator for all inventors that can be proposed for the European Inventor Award: They have been awarded a European patent. A recognised benchmark of quality around the world, European patents are granted by the EPO according to strict legal standards [Presumably the stricter the legal standards, the higher the quality?].
Any inventor of any nationality possessing at least one valid European patent [whoops ... nearly read 'patent' as 'passport'!] can enter or be proposed. Inventors with European nationalities are eligible for the Industry, SMEs/Research and Lifetime Achievement categories even if they currently reside outside Europe [The savvy ones will be applying from the sunny beaches of the tax havens in which they've invested their royalties]. Other nationals can be entered in the Non-European Countries category [This is a brilliant ploy to make sure that there's always going to be a prize that a European can win ...].
Entries must meet the following criteria:
* The invention's innovative factor - how it has advanced the prior technology/ process in its field - must be stated clearly [careful -- this might be held against you in subsequent opposition/cancellation proceedings. Over-claiming? Sufficiency of disclosure?] in the entry form.
* The invention's practical application should be precisely defined [that should wipe out all those messy gene patents, then].
* The invention's commercial success in Europe should be proven [this can be a problem where the invention's success, as is so frequently the case, is the result of the exploitation of more than one invention/patent].
* The invention clearly benefits the economy and society [Hm. Would a patent relating to file-sharing qualify, the IPKat muses?].
* The invention improves the quality of daily/working life [!] and/or the protection of the environment .
An inventor may NOT be entered for the competition if:
* The relevant patent is the subject of pending opposition or appeal proceedings [At the time the applicant enters the competition, or will a subsequent opposition do the trick? And what of appeals that have not been lodged at the time of the application but which are filed after entry but within the permitted period?];
* The patent has been revoked [so the wily inventor might consider heading off the threat of revocation proceedings by applying for an amendment post-grant?]".
Merpel adds, from what I understand of the problems of backlog facing the EPO, the results will be announced in 2014, though applicants can request an accelerated examination of their applications.
How to win competitions here, here and here