Paris. The City of Lights. The metropolis at the heart of Europe’s burgeoning culture scene.

Paris, and more specifically, the Ile de France region, became the picturesque backdrop to 2018’s edition of the European Inventor Award.

The ceremony, which first debuted in 2006, acknowledges the seemingly endless pool of human ingenuity, and its contribution to society’s development as a whole.

The 2018 edition presented fifteen finalists chosen from among hundreds of projects presented. Their ideas apply to many industries: Automotive, biology, toys, renewable energy.

The event also featured in-depth presentations and a professional workshop in cooperation with the European Patent Office (EPO), where the intricacies of the patent application process were discussed, along with legal ramifications and regional outcomes.

Day 1 – EPO Conference – Pavillion Henri IV Hotel

The first day of the event opened with a press briefing led by EPO President Benoit Battistelli, who delivered a speech about the EPO’s relevance and importance within the European patent business framework. The briefing was followed by a cocktail reception at the hotel.

Day 2 – Full day press event – Hotel Mercure Paris Ouest St. Germain

June 6 was occupied by a full-day press event, which included presentations on the European Patent System, overview of the Unitary Patent, and the Unified Patent Court.

The workshop was split into two distinct parts: The inner workings of the EPO, and the increasing significance of AI and IoT in today’s society, and how this translated into a huge increase of patent requests for projects related to these technologies. Over 5,000 patent applications for AI-related projects were filed during the year 2016 alone, for instance. The rate of application has grown by 54% over the last three years, with Germany and France taking the lead on this sector.

There was a clear emphasis on AI and IoT ecosystems becoming integral part of human society over the coming decades, with projects as diverse as smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and household applications being developed.

After the lunch break, there was time to interview some of the finalists.

Day 3 – Inventor Award ceremony – Theater Alexander Dumas

The award ceremony was held on June 7th at the picturesque Alexandre Dumas Theatre, which is located in the middle of the Jardin des Arts in St. Germain-en-Laye.

The ceremony opened with an avant-garde techno musical act, followed by an opening speech by the European Patent Office president Benoit Battistelli.

Former French Finance Minister Thierry Breton took to the stage next, to acknowledge Mr. Battistelli’s introduction and share a few words about the ceremony.

Next, the 15 finalists of the 2018 edition were introduced via promo videos, and then the winners of the different categories were announced.

2018 Inventor Awards. The winners by category


Winners: Agnes Poulbot and Jacques Barraud
Invention: Regenerating tyre tread


Winner: Jens Frahm
Invention: Real-time MRI

Non-EPO countries

Winner: Esther Sans Takeuchi
Invention: Batteries to reset the heart


Winner: Jane ní Dhulchaointigh
Invention: Sugru (mouldable glue)

Popular prize

Winner: Erik Loopstra and Vadim Banine
Invention: Ultraviolet litography

Lifetime achievement:

Winner: Ursula Geller
Invention: Ultrafast pulsed laser

Final Thoughts

The 2018 Inventor Award proved to be an interesting and worthy event, and a great opportunity to network and become aware of how the European patent system works. The rather picturesque and stylish locales across St. Germain en Laye certainly added to the enjoyment of the occasion.

The event was exceptionally well organized, with bus transfers for the press team arranged, and all needs catered for.

Overall, a positive and enlightening experience.


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