Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oh, patents! The Concours Lépine

Copyright Françoise Herrmann

Louis Lépine 1846-1933
The Concours Lépine is France’s oldest inventor awards competition! It was founded in 1901 by the Police Commissioner of Paris, Louis Lépine, who even wrote the rules of the contest. The competition was initially designed both to protect and to give exposure to small artisan inventors, manufacturing toys, who were facing growing foreign competition in Paris. To legally protect their inventions, exhibitors were granted patents free of charge. Thus, hundreds of artisan-inventors attended the first 1901 combination Concours-Exposition Lépine.

To date, 116 years later, the Concours Lépine International de Paris retains the ‘exhibit' portion of the event, as it takes place within the auspices of the Foire de Paris (Paris Fair) held every Spring in Paris. It is organized by the Association des Inventeurs et Fabricants Français (AIPF), originally founded in 1901 as the Société des Petits Fabricants et Inventeurs Français (SPFIF). The Concours Lépine also now holds regional competitions, in France, intended to reward young inventors in particular, and European inventors also. The contest is open to all inventors who have received patents for their inventions.

The Concours Lépine retains its original eponymized connections to public service and administration in the designation of the dozens of prizes awarded to inventors. Beyond the Grand Prix du Concours Lépine, the Jury’s Award and the President of the Jury’s Award, the highest award is the Prix du Président de la République (France’s Presidential Award) followed by the Prix du Premier Ministre (the Prime Minister’s Award), Grand Prix du Sénat (Senate Grand Award), Prix de l’Assemblée Générale (House of Representatives Award), Prix du Maire de Paris (Paris Mayor’s Award), the First, Second and Third Police Commissioner Awards, and so forth, including bronze, silver and gold medals and various other French government dignitary and agency awards, such as the INPI Awards (France’s Patent Office Awards)

For a list of the recipients of the 2017 Concours Lépine International de Paris Awards, click here!

Concours Lépine
Foire de Paris (Paris Fair)

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