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Call for Nominations for 40th Annual Inventor of the Year Award

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: May 8, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

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The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation currently has an open Call for Nominations for the 40th Annual Inventor of the Year Award. Nominations are due by May 15, 2013, and the winner (and the nominators) will be honored on Monday, December 10, 2013, in Washington, D.C. at a gala event. Last year the awards ceremony was attended by approximately 300 people, with the event being held in the old Patent Office building in Washington, DC, which is now home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. In my opinion, the IPO Inventor of the Year award ceremony is one of the best events our industry hosts, and one I look forward to every year.

The purpose of the award is to increase public awareness of inventors and how they benefit the nation’s economy and our quality of life.  To accomplish this goal the IPO Inventor of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding recent inventor (or inventors in the case of joint invention). Thus, nominations are being solicited from independent inventors, as well as inventors employed in industry, universities, and government. While some of the material you may have read indicates that the invention must be U.S. centric, inventions originating outside the U.S. are eligible for the award.

If you do decide to nominate someone keep in mind the invention must be of recent vintage. This is not a lifetime achievement award as would be the case with the Inventors Hall of Fame, for example.

Last year the award for Inventor of the Year was given to Alex Kipman of Microsoft for his invention of Kinects. See A Night at the Smithsonian, Patent Style. However, 4 of the last 9 years the IPO has recognized inventors of green technologies. See IPO Inventor Award Rewards Green Technologies. Will that trend continue in 2013? A lot has to do with who the industry nominates. So nominate the inventor who you think deserves this recognition today!

An inventor is eligible for the 2013 award if the invention meets all three of the following criteria:

  1. The invention is covered by a patent published in English.
  2. The invention was recently commercialized.
  3. The invention has had a significant impact on society.

Previously submitted nominations may be resubmitted, and anyone may submit a nomination. Self-nominations are acceptable.

The information that should be submitted to support the nomination includes:

  1. A one-page, non-technical summary of the invention.
  2. A one-page biography of the inventor.
  3. A copy of the patent.
  4. A statement addressing the following questions:
    • What economic impact has the invention had?
    • What effect has the invention had on humanity?
    • What effect has the invention had on the environment?
    • Is the invention subject to regulatory approval? If so, what is the status?
    • Is the patent a subject of pending litigation or other scrutiny? If yes, please attach an explanation.

Nominations may also include video footage, photographs or drawings, and newspaper or magazine articles, technical reports, independent evaluations and/or marketing information.

Frankly, I think every law firm should nominate an inventor for this award. We are on the front lines of innovation and have the opportunity to work with some exciting inventions. So dig through your files and see who can and should be recognized for their achievements.

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patents, Technology & Innovation

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.


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  1. “…..on Monday, December 10, 2012″

    You did mean 2013, not 2012?

  2. Thanks Jon. Date is fixed. The award will be given out on December 10, 2013.


  3. The 94-year-old inventor of Innovation Factory’s best-selling Trucker’s Friend is also an honored war hero (member of the Dutch Resistance) and has been recognized by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation for helping to save Jews from the Nazis. You can read more (and see pictures) at their blog: