A Retrospective Look at the Inventors and Ideas That Have Changed Our Lives

MUNICH, January 22, 2015 —

• Europe’s most prestigious innovation prize celebrates its tenth year

• The European Patent Office to present a video retrospective of the most exciting and innovative nominations

• Two British nominations to be featured: Christofer Toumazou and Sophie Wilson

• A different theme each week featuring former finalists and winners of the Award

• Starting on 22 January 2015 on www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor.html

• 10th European Inventor Award ceremony on 11 June 2015, in Paris

To celebrate the European Inventor Award’s tenth year, the European Patent Office (EPO) is presenting a retrospective of the time since the award’s inception, illustrated by its former finalists and winners. Which inventors have been nominated and where are they from? What was the impetus for their invention, and what is its impact on society today? The answers to these and other questions will be provided, along with revealing background information, in specially produced videos available on the EPO website. Each week, a different theme will take center stage.

The series kicks off today with a spotlight on Italian inventor and entrepreneur Catia Bastioli and green technology. In 2007, Bastioli was the first woman to win the European Inventor Award, for her biodegradable plastics. British geneticist Alec Jeffreys and themes relating to security will be the focus of the second retrospective, featured on 26 January 2015. Jeffreys was only 27 years old when he developed DNA fingerprinting, nowadays used all over the world.

Inventors from the UK regularly feature among the finalists for the prize. In 2013, Sophie Wilson, inventor of the revolutionary ARM processor, was nominated in the Lifetime Achievement category. She will be featured as part of a retrospective on computing pioneers on 11 March. Last year, Christopher Toumazou, Professor at Imperial College in London, received the award in the Research category for a microchip allowing rapid DNA sequencing (featured on 30 March). In the past ten years there have been 14 British finalists for the prize and 3 winners.

“Over the last decade, many inventions have changed our lives and entire industries have sprung up, and the role of European inventors has been pivotal in all this. The European Inventor Award highlights the contribution made by Europe’s inventors, researchers and entrepreneurs to innovation, and the ways in which their outstanding achievements have spurred economic development and created jobs in Europe,” says EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

Since 2006, the EPO’s European Inventor Award has recognised inventors who have made a special contribution to social, technological and economic progress. On 11 June 2015, before a gathering of inventors, entrepreneurs, politicians and scientific leaders in Paris, this coveted prize will be awarded for the tenth time.

Many pioneering innovations are “Made in Europe”, from the revolutionary wall plug to complex standards such as MP3 and LTE, to ground-breaking drugs against HIV and cancer. Every year, the EPO receives around 94 000 patent applications from European companies and inventors. And a strong European patent system provides a good regulatory environment for creative minds – and for the protection of technical innovation in nearly all walks of life.

The weekly retrospectives will continue until Easter, and will be devoted to fascinating topics like driver assistance systems and scientific milestones surrounding World Cancer Day on 4 February and International Women’s Day on 8 March.

About the EPO

With more than 7000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO’s centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation. The EPO is also the world’s leading authority in patent information and patent searching.