The significance of the European Inventor Award

19.12.2011

Hear what a winner and a nominee have to say about the lasting value of the EPO's awards

Benedetto Vigna and Jens Dall Bentzen are two remarkable European inventors who have made outstanding contributions to technology.

In 2010 Italian scientist Benedetto Vigna was a finalist in the selection for the European Inventor Award. Working for Switzerland-based STMicroelectronics, one of Europe's leading electronics and semiconductor manufacturers, he invented a commercially highly successful motion control sensor which today is at the heart of Japanese company Nintendo's Wii console. With worldwide sales of over 67 million units, the Wii is the fastest-selling video game system in history. For his groundbreaking invention Vigna was nominated for the European Inventor Award 2010.

Jens Dall Bentzen of Denmark was chosen as winner of the 2011 European Inventor Award in the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises category. He invented a biomass furnace that expands the range of usable fuel types, as it can burn both dry biomass and materials with a moisture content of up to 60%. It also produces significantly lower emissions.

This autumn the EPO invited Vigna and Bentzen to give lectures about developments in their fields since the award ceremony. In interviews given during these visits, they spoke about the ways in which the economic and political climate in Europe impacts on their work. They also explained how their nominations for the European Inventor Award had changed perceptions of their companies and awareness of their activities.

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