Privacy statement

Protecting your privacy is of the utmost importance to the European Patent Office (‘EPO’). The Office is committed to respecting and protecting your personal data and ensuring your rights as a data subject. All data of a personal nature that identifies you directly or indirectly will be handled fairly, lawfully and with due care.

This processing operation is subject to the Guidelines for the Protection of Personal Data in the European Patent Office.

The information in this communication is given pursuant to Articles 13 and 14 of the Guidelines.

1. What is the nature and the purpose of the processing operation?

The present privacy statement describes how Principal Directorate Communication of the EPO collects and processes your personal data when you participate in the Popular Prize the EPO organises during the European Inventor Award.

The Popular Prize of the European Inventor Award honours inventors, individuals or teams, whose pioneering work improves our lives, advances technology and creates jobs.

Some months before the Award takes place, the EPO launches the Popular Prize microsite where users can vote among a list of inventors proposed. This microsite is created and managed on behalf of the EPO by the external provider Plan.Net Group.

In order to vote you will have to access the link sent to the email address you will provide us when together with information concerning your country. Such personal data will be only used for authentication and statistical purposes.  

You can vote from the date of the publication of the microsite and during the event until the time announced by the EPO.

The Popular Prize microsite uses social plug-ins of the Social Media Platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to let you sharing on your social media account(s) and to inform your network that you participated in the Popular Prize. The microsite also presents videos about the inventors that have been published on YouTube and embedded to the microsite. If you use the social plug-ins functions or watch one of our videos posted on YouTube, this information might also be transmitted directly from your browser to the respective Social Media Providers and may be stored there.

Please be also aware that in case you are logged into your respective social network accounts when visiting the Popular prize, the Social Media Providers might assign user's visit to your social network account and combine such new information with other data already stored.

For more information on the purposes, the scope and the use of these personal data, you are strongly encouraged to review the cookie policy of the Popular Prize microsite and the relevant privacy policies of the respective Social Media Providers.

All the personal data collected is immediately deleted or anonymised after achieving the purposes for which they have been processed, except the name of the inventor you vote.

To see the Terms and Conditions of the voting please click on this link.

2. What personal data do we process?

The following categories of personal data are processed when you participate in the popular prize.

  • Email address, for authentication
  • Number of times you voted each day
  • Inventor you voted each day
  • Cookies

Kindly note that data are collected and anonymised for statistical purposes.

3. Who is responsible for processing the data?

Personal data are processed under the responsibility of the Principal Directorate Communication.

The personal data mentioned above are processed by the external service provider Plan.Net Group supplying the online Popular Prize microsite and collecting the data on our behalf.

4. Who has access to your personal data and to whom is it disclosed?

The personal data is disclosed, on a need-to-know basis, to the following recipients:

  • Service provider Plan.Net when you use the microsite created by them for the voting.
  • The EPO’s staff members of the Principal Directorate Communication in charge of carrying out the Popular Prize together with Plan.Net Group.
  • Social media platforms if you use the “share with your network” option after having voted.

Personal data can be disclosed by the data processors to its third-party providers for service maintenance, support and statistical purposes. Please for more information click on the cookie policy.

5. How do we protect and safeguard your information?

The personal data collected by Plan.Net Group on behalf of the EPO is anonymised, so the EPO receives anonymous statistics and the name and number of times an inventor was voted.

We take appropriate technical and organisational measures to safeguard and protect your personal data from accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration and unauthorised disclosure or access.

All external providers involved in the event take extensive technical and organizational security measures, which are regularly reviewed and adapted to technological progress.

6. How can you access your personal information and, if necessary, correct it?
How can you receive your data? How can you request that your personal data be erased, or restrict or object to its processing?

You have the right to access, rectify, erase and receive your personal data, as well as restrict its processing and object to the same, as provided in Article 14 of the Guidelines.

You have the possibility to withdraw consent to the profile picture you may have voluntarily uploaded. Please note that the withdrawal of consent does not affect the lawfulness of the processing based on the consent prior to the withdrawal.

If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please send a written query explicitly specifying your request to the data controller, the Principal Directorate Communisation at the following email address:

Your request will be answered within 3 months of receipt of the request. However, according to Article 14(7) of the Guidelines, this period may be extended, taking into account the complexity and number of requests. The Office will inform you of any such extension.

7. How long can data be kept?

Personal data will be kept only for the time needed to achieve the purposes for which it is processed.

The data are deleted after the voting closed and the winners have been defined.

Cookies might be kept on your device for longer period of time, please read the cookie policy.

8. What is the legal basis for processing your data?

Personal data is processed in accordance with Article 5(a) of the Guidelines, which states that ‘processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the legitimate interest of the official authority vested in the European Patent Office’.

Personal data (i.e. when you accept to share your vote on your social media platforms) is processed in accordance with Article 5(e) of the Guidelines which states that ‘the data subject has given his consent’.

9. Contact information

Should you have any queries on the processing of your personal data, please address them to the data controller at the following email address:

You may consult the EPO Data Protection Officer at:

Your personal data has been removed from our database

As requested, we have removed your personal data from the database. You are therefore no longer participating in the Popular Prize lottery.

If this was a mistake or you have changed your mind, simply vote for your favourite inventor again.