Exceptional inventors from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US receive European Inventor Award 2017 at ceremony in Venice
Outstanding inventors from twelve countries took centre stage as the EPO unveiled the winners of its European Inventor Award 2017 at a ceremony today in Venice. Now in its 12th year, the award is presented annually by the EPO to recognise outstanding inventors from Europe and around the world who have made exceptional contributions to social development, technological progress and economic growth.
"These inventors have not only contributed to furthering technological development, their patented inventions have had a major social and economic impact, from life-saving medical advances and materials to protect our environment to satellite navigation technologies that bring us closer together," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli at the award ceremony. "It is especially fitting that this year's ceremony is held in Venice - a city with a special place in the history of patents and innovation. This legacy lives on today as witnessed in the group of winners selected from the fifteen finalists for this year's award."
Some 600 guests from the areas of politics, business, intellectual property, science and academia were in attendance at Venice's Arsenale di Venezia as the EPO President, and Carlo Calenda, Italy's Minister of Economic Development, opened the ceremony.
The 2017 award winners are:
- Industry: Jan van den Boogaart and Oliver Hayden (Netherlands/Austria)
- Research: Laurent Lestarquit, José Ángel Ávila Rodríguez, Günter W. Hein, Jean-Luc Issler and Lionel Ries (France, Spain, Germany, Belgium)
- Non-EPO countries: James G. Fujimoto, Eric A. Swanson and Robert Huber (USA, Germany)
- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Günter Hufschmid (Germany)
- Popular Prize: Adnane Remmal (Morocco)
- Lifetime achievement: Rino Rappuoli (Italy)
Research category winner Laurent Lestarquit, said he was "proud of the teamwork, proud of what we have achieved" and proud that "Europe has a better navigation system than the American one," while ensuring that Galileo is compatible with GPS. "When the nations of Europe work together, the whole world benefits," said co-inventor José Ángel Ávila Rodríguez.
Ernst Krendlinger, Head of R&D at Deurex, and Steffen Remdt, Product Manager at Deurex, accepted the SMEs award on behalf of winner Günter Hufschmid. "He always has very good ideas. Some are crazy, but some are very good," said Krendlinger, adding that luck also plays a role.
Accepting the Popular Prize, winner Adnane Remmal said that nature was his inspiration: "Sometimes in nature we have problems like infection. In nature we can also find solutions. Everything is in nature; you just have to find it." He used the opportunity to call for a ban on the use of antibiotics in animal feed "as natural alternatives exist".
About the European Inventor Award
The European Inventor Award, now in its 12th year, is one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes. Launched by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2006, the annual award distinguishes individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. To qualify for the award, proposals have to meet specific criteria, including that the inventor had to have been granted at least one European patent for their invention by the EPO.