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What are the most influential inventions from Europe?
The airbag, stethoscope and bicycle are all inventions we use daily and rely on. They were all invented in Europe. It’s fair to say Europe’s inventions are pretty influential. Some inventions are claimed by several countries, while some aren’t claimed at all. We did research to find out each European country’s most influential innovation and which countries are patenting their inventions the most.
The UK has contributed many inventions on the list, but one of the most influential ones is penicillin, invented 91 years ago by the Scot Alexander Fleming. It has since saved millions of lives across the globe.
We have compiled our list of the most influential inventions from around Europe below. From the Armenian-inspired colour TV, to Velcro from Switzerland, check out our interactive map below and test your memory with our fiendishly difficult quiz.
How do patents work?
Patents are used to make sure an invention can’t be made, used or sold by anyone without the inventor’s consent. To qualify for a patent the inventor must show that the product is new to the market and can be used for completing a task. This must be shown to the patent office. If an inventor wants to have a patent, that person has to apply to the patent office in the country the patent would be active in or the European Patent Office, which caters to several countries.
In 2018, 3,326,300 patent applications were filed to patent offices worldwide, which is more than ever before. The Chinese patent office was getting the most work, as almost half (46.36%) of all patents were filed there – 1,542,002 applications. Out of the top 20 countries with the most patent applications, 10 offices were located in Asia, 5 in Europe, 2 each from North and South America and 1 office in Australia.
Only 1,422,800 patent applications were granted around the world in 2018, meaning just 42.77% of applications were approved.
The European Patent Office gets the most applications of all offices in Europe and it received 174,397 applications (5.24% of all applications) during 2018. Germany is the country that applies for the most patents and it applied for 67,898 in 2018, equal to 2.04% of all applications worldwide. Third is the United Kingdom, with 20,941 applications, followed by France, which applied 16,222 times. Italy was the final country in the top 20, with 9,821 applications.
Do you remember where the inventions come from? Test your skills and knowledge here.
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