It’s nominations time for Apple today. First we learned that Time magazine included Apple CEO Tim Cook on its annual list of 100 Most Influential People in the world and now a word has reached us that the company’s design guru Jonathan Ive has been nominated for the prestigious British Visionary Innovator award by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office.

The competition aims to celebrate innovators who earned fame by developing innovative products, services or designs, in in celebration of World Intellectual Property Day 2012…

MacWorld UK reported yesterday that Ive is up against industrial designer Sir James Dyson, graffiti artist Banksy and web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

Sadly, Ive will not be competing against Samsung Mobile’s vice president of design Lee Min-hyuk who argued recently he did not rip off the iPhone when designing the original Galaxy S smartphone.

The competition is run by the Intellectual Property Office in celebration of World Intellectual Property Day 2012, observed on April 26. Voting began yesterday and will end Tuesday, April 24 at 5pm. Winners will be announced on April 26.

Other shortlisted innovators include Harry Potter author JK Rowling, TV producer Simon Cowell, industrial designer Ian Wilmut, PIN and ATM inventor James Goodfellow, Ian Wilmut (the scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep) and Michael Aldrich who came up with the origins of online shopping.

Ive, 45, is Apple’s Vice President of Industrial Design and has been instrumental in reviving the company’s fortunes upon Steve Jobs return from exile. Under his belt are quite a few design awards, including Design Museum London’s 2003 Designer of the Year and The Royal Society of Arts’ Royal Designer for Industry.

Ive is an immensely powerful figure at Apple. He is listed fourth on the Apple Leadership page and could be, in my opinion, the perfect candidate for the next Apple CEO (my other pick would be the iOS chief Scott Forstall).

Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he made sure nobody can touch his “spiritual partner” Ive, as he put it. “That’s the way I set it up”, Jobs told Isaacson.

The Briton and his team operate from a bunker at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters where only a few select executives are allowed in. The facility, according to Jobs’ biographer, holds “the future for the next three years”.

Recent reports alleged that Ive is hiding a 50-inch Apple television prototype in his bunker that Apple may or may not bring to market.

Makes you wonder what kind of a company Apple would have been today if Ive hadn’t been around when Steve Jobs came back at Apple, right?