European Inventor Award 2017: Great honour for three German inventors

Press release of 16 June 2017

Venice/Munich. The European Inventor Award 2017 was presented in five categories in Venice on Thursday. 13 inventors and their teams accepted the trophies in the shape of a sail, including three inventors from Germany, who were honoured for their outstanding achievements: Günter Hufschmid, Günter W. Hein and Robert Huber.

Winner in the category "Small and medium-sized enterprises"
Chemist Günter Hufschmid developed a wax, which is already called "magic cotton", with the team of the company Deurex (Zeitz, Saxony-Anhalt). It is able to absorb more than six times its own weight in hydrophobic liquids - without taking on any water. The large, sponge-like surface of the wax makes it perfect for removing any oil spills and other liquid chemicals, both on solid surfaces and on water. The new wax cotton can effectively help fight against chemical residues and oil spills thanks due its "magic" property. It already demonstrated how well it works when the Elbe river flooded in 2013.

Winner in the category "Research"
Dr Günter Hein, a retired professor at the Universität der Bundeswehr in Neubiberg near Munich was decisively involved in the development of Galileo, the European global navigation satellite system (GNSS) at the European Space Agency (ESA). He helped develop the spread-spectrum signal for the GNSS in a European team with José Ángel Ávila Rodríguez (Spain) and Laurent Lestarquit (France). This technology improves accuracy of signals, saves satellite power and ensures interoperability with GPS.

Winner in the category "Non-European countries"
It is thanks to German physicist Dr Robert Huber, who is now professor at the Institute of Biomedical Optics at the Universität zu Lübeck, together with the US engineers James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson that medical practitioners can now create real-time images of human tissue for early detection of cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses. Optical coherence tomography (OCT), the revolutionary imaging technology developed by the top team, is the current standard for eye examinations.

"With innovative inventors and scientists from Germany winning the European Inventor Award 2017, ground-breaking technological inventions are deservedly honoured and recognised," says Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), about the presentation of the European Inventor Award. Vice-President Günter Schmitz, who represented the DPMA at the ceremony in Venice, adds: "We warmly congratulate all award winners on this great honour! According to the rules of the European Inventor Awards, their innovations have not only proven themselves in terms of technological originality but also in terms of wide social impact and economic significance. Congratulations!"

The European Inventor Award has been presented since 2006 on an annual basis by the European Patent Office. For more information on the award as well as on all 2017 finalists, please go to externer Link

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

The DPMA is the federal centre of expertise in the field of IP protection in Germany. With a staff of over 2,500, it is the largest national IP office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world. The staff based at locations in Munich, Jena and Berlin grant patents, register trade marks, utility models and designs, and manage these IP rights. In addition, they provide information on IP rights to the public. For more information on the DPMA, please go to

Last updated: 21 September 2023