First international patented invention competition in Latin America

logoIn September 2018, with the support of WIPO, PROSUR, a regional organization mandated to foster cooperation in the field of industrial property, launched its first Patented Invention Competition. The aim of the competition was to promote innovation and to encourage greater use of the IP system, in general, and the patent system in particular, across Latin America.

Rolling out the competition

Following a rigorous screening process, 23 applications – of which 11 had filed patent applications under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty – made it to the competition. Applicants were required to provide proof that their invention was covered by a patent or utility model registration that had been granted within five years prior to the date of the competition’s launch.

The applications were evaluated by a jury of experts from the International Federation of Inventors’ Associations, the Max Planck Institute, the Inter-American Development Bank and Marca Sur Magazine.

The winners

The competition’s top prize went to a team of researchers from Argentina’s National Agricultural Technology Institute for their work in combatting the harmful effects of rotavirus, a pathogen that kills over 550,000 children globally every year.

invention competition

photo: Courtesy of INTA, Argentina

The judges chose the work of the winning team – Thomas Surrey, Aurelien Olichon, Silvia Sebastián Gómez, José Ángel Martínez Escribano, Andrés Wigdorovitz, Lorena Laura Garaicoeachea, Gisela Ariana Marcoppido and Gladys Viviana Parreño – because they determined it would play a crucial role in improving the well-being of children in Latin America and beyond.

The team won the WIPO IP Enterprise Trophy and the opportunity for one of its members to present their work at the annual International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. This was an excellent opportunity for the team to showcase its work, meet with other inventors and potential investors and to expand its network. 

An invention to improve childbirth won second place

Argentinian mechanic Jorge Ernesto Odón won second prize for his low-cost infant delivery device, which enables safer childbirth, particularly during difficult labor and delivery, without the need for medical expertise, making it an ideal option for settings where access to healthcare professionals is limited. The inventor’s ambition is for this innovative device to become a leading alternative to conventional methods of assisted delivery.

Chile and Peru in joint third place

Third place was shared by two inventions – one from Chile and the other from Peru. The Chilean invention, developed by researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University (UC), is a vaccine that seeks to protect children, in particular, against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age. Their invention, one of the first to treat the virus, promises to have a direct impact on children’s health.

With broad potential application in the automotive industry, the Peruvian invention, developed by Rodrigo Coquis Sánchez-Concha, eliminates bacteria in fossil fuels to prevent the failure of fuel injectors and pumps. Installed in fuel tanks of vehicles, the device reduces fuel consumption and carbon monoxide and smoke emissions.

Recognition for female inventors

The first edition of the PROSUR competition included a special award exclusively for female inventors. The award distinguished those inspiring women who have contributed to the development of new knowledge through their technological innovations and who are a source of inspiration for new generations of female scientists and inventors.

The prize was awarded to the four female members of the Argentinian research team who won the first prize, namely, Lorena Laura Garaicoechea, Gisela Ariana Marcoppido, Gladys Viviana Parreño and Silvia Gómez-Sebastián.

All laureates received a certificate of merit from WIPO. These were awarded at separate ceremonies in Argentina, Chile and Peru in March 2019.

Author: Constanza Zülch and Francisco Carrasco, Communications Division, National Institute of Industrial Property, Chile

Source: WIPO Magazine