Sunday, April 26 marked World Intellectual Property Day, a holiday that offers the opportunity to discuss how strong intellectual property protections promote creativity and drive innovation globally. Countries marked the occasion by hosting festivals, holding conferences, and reaffirming the importance of intellectual property creation to innovation.
As always, the holiday is a great opportunity to thank inventors and innovators around the world for the contribution their hard work and intellect makes to the greater good. In honor of the occasion, this week’s News You Can Use includes stories about intellectual property trends and accolades.
New Study Evaluates Patent Trends
How has the process of creating intellectual property evolved over time? The Economist this week looks at the conclusions of a new paper by Oxford University researchers, which shows how inventing has changed over the years.
The authors found, using data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), that while nearly half of the patents in the 1800s were for almost entirely new ideas, 90 percent of patents today combine ideas for a new outcome (like Edison’s lightbulb, which used available technologies in a new way). The study’s authors are the first to demonstrate this conclusion using data.
European Patent Office Announces Invention Awards Finalists
Quartz has a run-down of the European Patent Office’s finalists for its annual Invention Awards. The competition honors inventors whose ideas have made contributions to everyday life in one of nine distinct disciplines.
The 12 finalists include:
- an inventor from France who patented a new window that can convert sunlight into heat in the winter, but also darkens in the summer to improve energy efficiency;
- a UK-based inventor who developed a way to genetically control mosquitos to combat Dengue fever;
- a Dutch inventor who pioneered self-healing concrete that repairs its own cracks; and
- a French man who invented peanut paste to fight famine in developing countries.
Check out the full list here; the final awards will be announced on June 11.
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