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Eligibility rules and conditions

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To qualify for the European Inventor Award, all entries must satisfy certain formal conditions. Before filling in the entry form, please read the information below. Failure to observe the conditions may result in the candidate's elimination from the competition.

Anyone can submit an entry: whether you work in industry, at a university or research institute or for a professional association, are an individual inventor, or simply have an interest in the work these people do, there are no restrictions. If you are an inventor, you can even put yourself forward.

Eligibility criteria

Criteria for Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO Countries, and Lifetime Achievement

An inventor must be granted at least one European patent for an invention by the European Patent Office.

The patent must be maintained in force in at least one EPO member state (except for the Lifetime Achievement category).

The patent should show a high degree of inventiveness, display a recognisable benefit to society or the environment and demonstrate proven or potential economic success in Europe.

Inventors nominated for the Industry, Research, SMEs and Lifetime Achievement categories must be citizens of one of the EPO’s 38 member states. Inventors from outside the EPO’s member states can only be nominated for the Non-EPO Countries category.

Inventions from all fields of technology for which a European patent can be granted can be nominated for the European Inventor Award.

Not eligible

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  • the patent has been revoked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
  • the inventor has already been a finalist or winner in a previous European Inventor Award competition (see the list of past finalists and winners).

To learn more, please read the eligibility rules and conditions.

Criteria for Young Inventors Prize

The Young Inventors Prize is open to any public/published initiative, by an individual or a group of individuals worldwide with a maximum age of 30 years at the time of the Award ceremony. The initiative should clearly demonstrate how it intends to solve a problem within the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework by using a solution from any field of technology.   

Candidates may be of any nationality - this prize is not limited to individuals with EPO Member State nationality. 

Only public/published initiatives will be considered as this avoids the risk of unwillingly disclosing information that may impact future patent applications.  

Each nomination must be accompanied by supporting information. Examples of supporting documents include granted patents or utility models, published scientific papers, business plans, videos or documentaries, or web articles. Please note that not all supporting documentation carries the same weight. For example, a granted patent is a clear statement of originality and potential technological impact, whereas ideas disclosed on a blog may not necessarily be so. 

A proposed candidate for the Young Inventors Prize may also be nominated for the categories above if they fulfil the respective requirements. However, a nominee cannot be selected as a finalist in both.

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