Inventor’s Prize 2007 - And the winner is… the oil industry
The jury's decision:
Inventor’s Day is held on November 9th, the birthday of film beauty
and ingenious inventor Hedy Lamarr.
The prize, usually awarded to a great inventor, this year goes instead
to the entire oil industry, in recognition of the unusually high
prices they are demanding for this important resource.
The initiator of the prize, Gerhard Muthenthaler, explains, "Cheap oil
was the main reason that great ideas in Greenventions have not been
pursued with enthusiasm. But the more expensive oil gets, the faster
we'll start to see environmentally friendly alternatives emerge."
Contemplating the problem while waiting on line at the gas station
drives many inventors to think about alternative energy. In a climate
where it's possible for Al Gore to win the Nobel Prize for educating
us about global warning, it's the right time for new ideas...
especially as oil soars to an all-time high of a hundred dollars a
Not only are the number of Greenventions soaring, but there's an
increasing chance that these patents will earn good money for their
owners. Technology leaders in the fields of solar energy, wind power,
renewable resources and related areas post success stories every day.
These companies are well aware of the importance of intellectual
property rights and patents.
So a world-record high for the price of oil accomplishes what reason
and common sense alone could not do. We find ourselves on a search for
technology and tactics that will allow us to avoid expensive oil and
will also improve our quality of life by preserving the environment
and resources of the planet.
Big Oil deserves its award for creating the circumstances that we seek
to surmount, and for surely stimulating a flood of new inventions in
the future, as difficulty has always been the spur for invention in
The jury, Berlin 9. November 2007
Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) receives the Inventor’s Prize 2006
The jury's decision:
Jimmy Wales has created with his project Wikipedia the most convincing of achievements as an inventor. He invested his own fortune in an idea that was carried more by a vision than of any economical success and even if that is not the primary obligation of an inventor, it has led to success in this case study.
Freelance editors could only be engaged with such enthusiasm for a free encyclopaedia and the practicality of the invention is accessed in the daily life of the most of the jury members.
Jimmy Wales (and innumerable Wikipedians in his wake) have succeeded in creating an internet site that is not interesting, excitingly or trendy, but simply practical.
Wales can be pleased about the economic success of the idea nevertheless, by running related and profit-oriented projects parallel to Wikipedia. Where other inventors have assumed that a patent secures all possible rights for them and will leads to success, Wales proved that new technologies such as the internet require new ways of thinking for the realisation of ideas.
Free content instead of a patent. The path that Jimmy Wales took with his vision is applicable to but only a few ideas. Patent rights in there varying forms have their justification for many inventors.
The prize complements his achievement not only because he took a new path to realise his vision but in addition to the new idea itself he is perceived by many inventors as exemplary.
The jury, Berlin 9. November 2006