There are rules about what you can patent: Your invention must be new, non-obvious and useful. True, it doesn’t always seem to work out that way, judging by patents for a beer umbrella, an anti-eating face mask, and something called a “user-operated amusement apparatus for kicking the user’s buttocks.”
But some patented inventions go well beyond those criteria. Each year the European Patent Office (EPO) highlights some of the best inventions with the potential to change the world. It hands out a European Inventor Award in five categories: industry, research, and non-EPO countries, a small and medium-sized enterprise award, as well as a lifetime achievement award. Watch the video above to see our favorites.