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20 June 2019

The European Patent Office (EPO) today honoured exceptional
inventors from Austria, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain with the
European Inventor Award 2019 at a ceremony in Vienna.
The laureates are
recognised for their outstanding achievements in plastic recycling, cancer
diagnostics, rechargeable battery technology, marine antifouling and DNA

2019 EIA trophies“The imagination, intellect and expertise on display at
this year’s European Inventor Award are inspirational; all of the finalists and
winners are pushing boundaries and achieving new heights in their respective
disciplines,” said EPO President António Campinos at the Award ceremony.
“These inventors’ stories also show how patent protection can help turn
innovation into market success. What’s more, intellectual property rights are
fuelling the European economy – industries that make high use of patents,
trademarks and design rights contribute significantly to GDP, trade and job
creation in Europe.”

Held at the Wiener Stadthalle, the Award ceremony, now in
its 14th edition, was attended by some 600 guests from the fields of
intellectual property, politics, business, science and academia. The finalists
and winners were selected by an independent, international jury from a pool of
hundreds of inventors and teams of inventors put forward for this year’s Award.
The recipient of the Popular Prize was chosen by the general public through an
online vote in the run-up to the ceremony.

The laureates of the European Inventor Award 2019 are:


Klaus Feichtinger & Manfred Hackl

Klaus Feichtinger and Manfred Hackl (Austria)
Higher-performance plastic recycling

By thinking in a new direction, these Austrian inventors
reshaped plastic recycling. With their approach, waste plastics of many types
can be turned into high quality pellets for new products. Today, more than 6
000 of their machines in operation worldwide produce over 14.5 million tonnes
of plastic pellets annually.


Jérôme Galon

Jérôme Galon (France)
Immunoscore®, a clearer cancer test

The French immunologist’s diagnostic tool assesses the risk
of relapse in cancer patients. It uses digital images of tumour samples and
advanced software to measure immune response. Galon’s invention is already in
use at clinics around the world to improve the accuracy of prognosis for
patients with colorectal cancer.

Non-EPO countries

Akira Yoshino

Akira Yoshino (Japan)
Lithium-ion battery and its evolution

This Japanese scientist is the father of the lithium-ion
battery (LIB). His rechargeable batteries power nearly five billion mobile
phones, laptops and other portable devices, as well as electric vehicles. For
decades he has been dedicated to continually improving LIBs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Rik Breur

Rik Breur (Netherlands)
Marine antifouling fibre wrap

Inspired by a sea urchin’s prickly surface, this Dutch
inventor’s antifouling fibre wrap is an environmentally friendly alternative to
toxic paints on ships and marine structures. Algae, barnacles and mussels just slide
off it, saving boats up to 40% on their fuel consumption.

Popular Prize and Lifetime achievement

Margarita Salas Falgueras

Margarita Salas Falgueras (Spain)
DNA amplification for genomics

The Spanish molecular genetics pioneer invented a faster,
simpler and more reliable way to replicate traces of DNA into quantities large
enough for full genomic testing, using the enzyme phi29 DNA polymerase. Her
invention is now used widely in oncology, forensics and archaeology.

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