The European Patent Office recently announced the finalists for its European Inventors Award 2011, a prestigious prize awarded to five innovators each year.
The prize is awarded across five categories - industry, small- and medium-sized businesses, research, lifetime achievement and non-European countries. The EPO announced three finalists for each category and will announce the winners at a ceremony in May.
The inventions chosen as finalists include transmission amplifiers for fiber optic cables, water purification based on ultraviolet light, glasses that adjust to match a wearer's eyesight, a new method for diagnosing genes connected to Alzheimer's disease and a new form of "deformable" concrete.
Benoit Battistelli, president of the EPO, described the nominated finalists as "positive proof that European enterprises can hold their own with cutting-edge products in a wide range of fields."
Battistelli said the nominated inventions succeeded commercially in part because of their "rational exploitation" of European patents. "With the revenue from their patents, companies are able to invest billions in research and development year after year," Battistelli said. "This investment in turn works to the benefit of society as a whole."
The European Inventors Award was first introduced by the EPO in 2006. The prize, which is supported by the European Commission, will be awarded on May 19 in Budapest, Hungary.