Patents not Only for Economic and Business but also for Honour

Authors: Kaie Puur, Estonian Trademark and Design Attorney, Lawyer, Representative of METIDA in Estonia, Evgenija Gainutdinova, METIDA representative in Latvia, Renata Anduziene, Patent consultant at METIDA

Patent protection is a key element for fostering technological innovation and accelerating development. It is also well known that newly patented inventions are very important for economic engine to generate new workplaces and stimulate economic growth.

Especially talking about business sector it is much easier to attract investments for the companies which have patented products. Furthermore the value of the company usually strongly increases due to disposable patents. Very often companies which have many patented technologies are sold for much higher price than similar size companies without patents. These cited facts are significant reasons why patenting is so crucial. Besides these facts patenting also gives honour to inventor as well as encouragement to achieve new inventions. Moreover in most cases honour and recognition is one of the most important aspects for inventors.

Each year European Patent Office (EPO) presents European Inventor Award. The Award is presented in five categories: Industry, Research, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Non-European Countries, and Lifetime Achievement. These awards bring in one place world’s greatest innovators, persons from business, media, politics and sciences. It is worth to quote European Patent Office’s speech: “The European Inventor Award, launched by the EPO in 2006, gives inventors the recognition they deserve. And, like every competition, it is an incentive to all other potential winners. It protects ideas and encourages innovation”.

Mart Min is the only finalist from Baltic States in European Inventor Awards yet. He invented new method to precisely measure electrical current. This method purpose is to help investigate money counterfeiting. Also this method makes observation of internal organs possible which is important for organ transplantation. Last but not least important thing – this invention is applicable in more powerful cell phones batteries manufacturing. The winners of the European Inventor Award 2014 will be announced at the award ceremony in Berlin on 12 June, 2014.

This year Estonian Patent Office has already submitted to the European Inventor Award 2014 the invention “Strain of micro organism Lactobacillus Fermentum ME-3 as novel antioxidative probiotic” and its further improvements by Marika Mikelsaar and the authors` collective. The invention belongs to biotechnology field and can be used in food industry such as milk product. In Estonia this invention are already used in popular product series – it is sold under the trademark HELLUS (hellus in English means tenderness). Marika Mikelsaar is professor of medical microbiology at University of Tartu. She is one of the most cited Estonian female scientists – according to Thompson Reuters her researches have been cited in more than 2390 publications. In 2007 European Union Women Inventors & Innovators Network (EUWIIN) she won Special Recognition Award and in 2008 Worldwide Female Investigators and Innovators Golden Medal was awarded to Professor Mikelsaar for patented probiotic bacterium lactobacillus fermentum ME-3.

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Each year Lithuanian State Patent Bureau also invites to submit forms for the European Inventor Award. Unfortunately this year no nominations have been submitted from Lithuania. However other contests like “Best month invention“ and “Contest of young inventors“ are organized and actively participated in Lithuania. The Lithuanian patent application No. 2012-002 “The production method of ecological biofuel briquettes” which was filed to Lithuanian State Patent Bureau on January 19, 2012 in the name of inventor Visvaldas Zeleniakas was nominated as the “best month invention” in November of 2013 by the Patent Information Center of the Lithuanian Technical Library. The “best month invention” events are organized not only to strengthen the activity of the usage of the patent system in Lithuania but also to stimulate the creativity of inventors. The best month invention is published at the Lithuanian Technical Library website also on the street stands and may be published in Lithuanian science and technology portals.

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Undoubtedly in Latvia inventors and their work are also appreciated and awarded. Walter Zapp Awards established in 2004 and since 2005 it is granted together by Latvian Academy of Sciences also the Latvian Patent Office and the German company MINOX. Awards are held every two years at the fourth of September – a day of Walter Zapp birthday. The winner of these awards receives a diploma, a medal and a monetary prize.

So far the awards were granted four times:

  • To Benjamin Joffe un Roberts Kalniņš for inventions in the field of electromagnetic orientation of parts (2005);
  • To Juris Upatnieks for outstanding inventions in holography (2007);
  • To Raimonds Skuruls for inventions in the field of for inventions in the field of sound processing technology (2009);
  • To Māris Ābele un Kazimirs Lapuškis for creation of the photo and laser equipment for monitoring space objects (2011).

This year at 108 birthday of Walter Zapp the annual awards of his name have been granted to Dr.habil.phys., Prof. Jānis Spīgulis in recognition of his inventions in the field of fibre optics and biophotonics. The awards ceremony took place on September 4, 2013 at Latvian Academy of Sciences building where participants were: Vice president of Latvian Academi of Sciences Juris Ekmanis, Acting director of Latvian Patent office Guntis Ramāns, Representative of German company Minox Friedrich Oehlschläger, Rector of Latvian University Mārcis Auziņš as well as her excellence the Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany in Latvia Andrea Joana-Maria Wiktorin. Jānis Spīgulis is the author of the first text book in the field of optical fiber in Latvian language he also participated in a foundation of two optic enterprices. Moreover he was granted various awards. J.Spīgulis carried out researches at atomic spectroscopy, optoelectronics and fiber optics, but since 1995 he has been focusing on biomedical optics and biophotonics. Last time applied for and managed a number of important European Union Structural Funds, the 7th Framework Programme and other international projects of new optical diagnostic and monitoring methods and equipment engineering. He involved approximately 50 young scientists in researches of biophotonics.

The world-famous miniature photo camera VEF-Minox, invented by Walter Zapp (born in Riga on 4 September 1905, died in Germany in 2003) has contributed greatly to the recognition of Latvia around the world. The production of the photo camera Minox was launched in the factory VEF in Riga (1938-1942) and was continued in Germany after the war. In 2001 Walter Zapp visited Riga and received the diploma of the Honorary Doctor of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.

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