Author: Dr. Eugenijus Keras, Patent Consultant at METIDA
Those who have at least a slight interest in new technologies and innovations should have noticed news in the media on the Lithuanian man nominated for the European Inventor Award of the year for the first time in the history of the European Patent Office. Recently, a number of articles on the path of the inventor before the idea, for which he has become famous, was developed, the very invention and the possibilities for application of the invention have emerged in the media.
Arminas Ragauskas, the professor at Kaunas University of Technology and the co-founder of Vittamed UAB, in cooperation with his colleagues doctors of science Gediminas Daubaris and Algis Džiugys invented and patented the ultrasound non-invasive intracranial pressure (ICP) meter. It may be applied in a lot of fields of medicine and help to deal with the problem of visual disorders from which astronauts suffer during their long-lasting cosmic flights. Certainly, the afore-mentioned inventions and patents are not the only inventions and patents of Prof. Mr. Ragauskas; nevertheless, the afore-mentioned invention has been granted the prestigious award of the European Patent Office.
It should be noted that the inventor Mr. Ragauskas mentioned two circumstances that have led to the idea of genius, i.e. the collapse of the Soviet Union and a serious disease of his mother. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the customers for whom Mr. Ragauskas and his colleagues carried out development works have stopped funding their projects. He had to switch to other works, look for new financing opportunities and other possibilities for adaptation of the new equipment. The disease of the scholar’s mother has brought him to the neurosurgical resuscitation ward where the professor had a possibility to access medical equipment and examine the technical level of such equipment. One can only imagine the inspiration in own activities where a man is able to pay attention to the equipment of the medical treatment institution and the possibilities of such equipment when his closest person is ill.
There is a natural rotation in higher schools in Lithuania as the employees of the universities who have reached the respectable age leave their positions to younger colleagues. An attitude towards the things relevant to science is often very different. Thus, the achievements and competences of the afore-mentioned inventor make people admire him even more: the professor had not only to quickly switch to other activities with a view to maintain the relevance of own researches and products to the potential customers, but also to form and maintain efficient team of scientists. It is also important that the professor was able to patent his inventions in the EU, the USA, Japan and other countries, was able to pay the patenting costs. Today when the non-invasive human brain diagnostics and monitoring technologies developed by him and his colleagues are applied as instruments of scientific and clinical researches even in the NASA centres, the patents have become an important factor in attracting funds amounting to millions from the foreign risk capital necessary for commercialisation of the developed technologies in the EU, the USA and other countries. In order to attract risk capital from the USA, the EU or the Asian risk capital fund, it must be proved that the whole intellectual property is protected by strong patents not subject to legal contestation.
The afore-mentioned phrase of the 37th President of the USA Richard Nixon may imply a wish for the young generation to never quit in science. Such inventors could be a catching and motivating example. The inventor fascinates us with his activities, the ability not only to deal with complex situations, but also to develop the world-class scientific products.
On the one hand, the final results of the best Inventor Award organised by the European Patent Office are not so important, since participation in the final is already a tremendous achievement; nevertheless, one should never stop dreaming boldly and seek for realisation of own dreams.
The Inventor Award of the year has been organised by the European Patent Office already since 2006. 12-18 (last year, 15) participants of the final are chosen every year and the winners in different categories are announced. Inventors from Lithuania have never been in the final yet. For example, there have been two finalists from Poland and the Czech Republic and one finalist from Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary. Thus, it is a great honour for Lithuania to be included in the list of countries with at least one participant in the best European Inventor Award.