Berlin/Munich, 17 June 2014 - The European Patent Office (EPO) presented the European Inventor Award 2014 today in Berlin in a ceremony widely regarded as Europe's "technology and innovation Oscars". The award honours outstanding inventors for their contribution to social, economic and technological progress. The award ceremony, held at the former Kaiserliches Telegrafenamt (Imperial Telegraph Office) in Germany's capital, was attended by some 500 guests from the fields of business, science, culture and politics, including German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Heiko Maas.
The international jury selected the winners from 15 finalists, themselves selected from over 300 proposals for individual inventors and inventor teams put forward for the 2014 award. The winners are: Artur Fischer (Germany) in the category "Lifetime achievement", Koen Andries/Jérôme Guillemont (Belgium/France) in "Industry", Peter Holme Jensen (Denmark) in "Small and medium-sized enterprises", Christofer Toumazou (UK) in "Research" and Charles W. ("Chuck") Hull in "Non-European countries". In addition, the Popular Prize was awarded to public favourite Masahiro Hara and his team, who received nearly 30% of the more than 20 000 votes cast online.
The choice of the public was clear, as nearly 30% of the votes cast went to the Japanese team. Moreover, with over 20 000, the number of votes coming from around the world more than doubled over last year.
"Innovation is absolutely essential for Europe to generate growth and prosperity and secure its position among the leading industrial regions," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli at the award ceremony. "All of the inventors we are honouring here today have introduced game-changing technological innovations in their respective fields. Their achievements improve people's everyday lives, and represent substantial contributions to tackling major global challenges such as climate change, access to clean drinking water and improving health. Their ingenuity and creativity are indicative of Europe's position as a leading technology region. And patents play a major role in protecting this status on a daily basis."
Launched in 2006, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent Office. The award honours inventive individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to social progress, economic growth and prosperity. Fifteen finalists and, subsequently, the winners are chosen from among the nominees by a high-profile international jury. The award is presented in five categories: Industry, Research, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Non-European countries, and Lifetime achievement. The general public voted online to select the winner of the Popular Prize from among the 15 finalists.
With approximately 7 000 employees, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest European public service institutions. Its headquarters are in Munich, and it also has offices in The Hague, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors can 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.
Note to Editors:
Availability of AV and photo materials on 17 June
A live stream of the European Inventor Award ceremony can be viewed on www.epo.org from 11.00 CET onwards
Users of Samsung and Toshiba Smart TV devices can view the show live from 11.00 CET onwards, and later on-demand using the "Innovation TV" Smart TV app of the European Patent Office.
The EPO will make audio-visual material of the ceremony and winners available in SD quality on www.hellosports.com as follows:
14.15 CET: Handing over of the prize in the different categories: rough cuts
15.15 CET: Short interviews with the winners (English)
16.45 CET: Highlights video "Best of the 2014 Award" (English/French/German)
Print-quality photos from the ceremony will be successively made available from 11.30 CET onwards at: www.epo.org/media-inventor
Further AV, photo and text materials about all 15 finalists can be found at:
Oswald Schröder Rainer Osterwalder
Spokesperson/Project Manager Deputy Spokesperson/Director Media Relations
Tel.: +49 89 23991800 Tel: +49 89 23991820
Mobile: +49 (0)163 8399668 Mobile: +49 163 8399527