Skip to content

Indian, American duo reach finals of European inventor Award

The teacher-student duo are competing against two other teams in the finals, results of which will be announced on July 4 in Valencia, Spain.

Image - European Patent Office.

Indian American professor Kripa Varanasi alongside his American student and competition partner David Smith from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have bolstered their position in the final round of the European Investor Award 2023. The award, launched by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2006, celebrates master inventors and equips them with the deserved recognition, alongside raising awareness of the role of intellectual property in encouraging invention.

Smith and Varanasi’s invention is a nonstick coating called LiquiGuideTM, that aids in the smooth and easy dispensing of viscous liquids such as mayonnaise, lotion, as well as glue, in a frictionless manner from their packaging. The duo have introduced the technology for use in the skincare and dental hygiene industry. They have also partnered with several biotechnology companies to create customized coatings for a wide range of medical products.

The first-of-its-kind coating enables the packaging to repel the products, ensuring smooth flow and eliminating wastage of product as is commonly observed with toothpaste, ketchup, and similar products. According to data, it takes 500 years for a toothpaste tube to fully biodegrade and globally over one billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills annually. Smith and Varanasi’s recyclable product will help eliminate waste generation across industries including manufacturing, energy, and agrochemicals. Their invention is already being commercialized for use.

The creation was inspired by a bottle of honey when Varanasi saw his wife struggling to retrieve the liquid from a jar. This interaction gave birth to the idea of creating completely non-stick packaging solutions. The duo’s product has already won the Audience Choice award at the MIT-$100K business plan competition. It has attracted a lot of investor interest and an IP protection is in place for their product.

With LiquiGuideTM, Varanasi and Smith are now among the three finalists in the non-European Patent Office countries category this year. The category recognizes the work of outstanding inventors who aren’t included in the EPO’s list of 39 member states but have been granted a European patent. The winners’ announcement will take place at a ceremony on July 4 in Valencia, Spain. The event will be able to stream online for those interested.