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We live in an age of innovation. Around the world, more and more companies and individuals are seeking protection for their inventions every year. In Europe we received more than a quarter of a million patent applications last year. But what makes an invention truly outstanding? How can one compare individual technological advances and their economic and societal impact? That is the difficult task faced by the international jury of the European Inventor Award that every year looks through the strongest nominations from a field of hundreds. They consider not only the level of scientific ingenuity, but also an invention’s economic impact in terms of jobs and wealth created, and its contribution to improving health, the environment or standard of living. All of the nominated inventions are protected by a European patent, which has helped get many of them off the ground. For the 9th year in a row, the EPO is honouring the brightest and most creative inventors in five categories: Industry, SMEs, Research, Non-European Countries, and Lifetime Achieve- ment. The finalists and winners of the European Inventor Award illustrate just how diverse and far-reaching innovation’s impact can be. This year’s Award ceremony returns to Germany, and will be held in Berlin – its vibrant capi- tal. This is fitting not only because Berlin is a cosmopolitan city at the heart of Europe, but also because it has a rich history of science and technology, a strong patent culture, and is home to established innovative companies as well as dynamic research centres and start-ups. Berlin has also hosted a sub-office of the EPO since 1978. We hope you will join us at the award ceremony on 17 June as we honour some of Europe’s brightest minds, who are shaping our world. Benoît Battistelli President meet the inventors shaping our world european inventor award 2014

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