4iP News

And the winner is...

15 February 2016

Roses are red, violets are blue, you are a great inventor and I love you.


And the ‘Love an Inventor’ winner is Karlheinz Brandenburg
. A core member of the celebrated mp3 team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, Karlheinz Brandenburg has been voted Europe’s most loved technology inventor by 4iP Council’s followers.

The power of the team

It is nice for inventors to get recognition.
Every major invention today is teamwork. I would like to take the
opportunity to thank the big team in Erlangen, but as well everybody
else in the world who contributed, whose ideas went into mp3.
– Professor Karl Brandenburg, Director, Fraunhofer Institute


Last month we invited 4iP Council subscribers and social media followers to share their passion for European technology and engineering inventors by nominating them for some Valentine’s Day love and appreciation. We were delighted by the range of responses! Over the past week, more than a hundred 4iP Council followers voted for their favourite inventor from a shortlist of eight nominees.

Choosing a winner from the impressive shortlist was not easy as there is no unique definition of success for a patented invention. Thank you to all those who voted for supporting European inventors and having some Valentine’s Day fun with us.

Everyone's a winner

People often ask which of my inventions I prefer. My answer is, ‘on what criteria?’ Is it the one that was the most scientifically beautiful? The one that created the most jobs? The one that saved lives or the one that brought most financial return?
– Professor Jacques Lewiner, Chairman, ESPCI Georges Charpak Foundation


mp3 has transformed the world of music, created thousands of jobs and generated a revenue stream that has funded, and will continue to fund, one of Europe’s most important innovation pipelines.

Warm congratulations to Karlheinz who was kind enough to give us an interview on the build up to mp3, the moment the mp3 invention came about, the relevance of patents in its success and the knock on innovation that has been triggered. Congratulations also to the other esteemed European inventors below who were nominated for some love this February.

In alphabetical order:

Karlheinz Brandenburg for mp3
John Daugman for IrisCode
Peter Gruenberg + Albert Fret for Giant-Magnetoresistance Effect (GMR)
Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair for the Cochlear Implant
Sir Clive Sinclair for Sinclair calculator, digital watch, various computers
Suat Topsu and Cedric Mayer for LiZe’s LiFi technology
Christofer Toumazou for ‘Lab on a chip’
Petra Wadström for Solvatten water purification and heating

Though we are having some fun for Valentine’s Day, we are serious about our love of invention and believe that strong patent systems foster innovation. For several years the European Patent Office (EPO) has done an amazing job of raising the visibility of living European inventors through its European Inventor Awards. We encourage you to also follow and support this inspiring and important initiative.