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Fujio Masuoka, the inventor of Flash Memory, was recognised for his work last night at the Economist Awards, scooping the Innovation Award for "No Boundaries" at a ceremony in London last night.

Masuoka developed Flash Memory technology in 1984 while employed by Toshiba, and is now a Professor in the Solid State Institute at Tohoku University. Last year he initiated legal action against the firm, claiming a $9.2m share of the patent rights for his contribution to developing the technology.

The "No Boundaries" award is supposed to recognise innovations that have "positively transformed global business", according to the organisers.

We suspect the rather noticeable success of the Flash-based iPod Nano (yes, and to a lesser extent Shuffle) might have brought the technology to the top of the judegs' minds. It probably explains why the judges have handed out an innovation award for something that was invented in 1984.

Meanwhile the Innovation Award for Computing and Telecommunications went jointly to Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergei Brin. The organisers said the award was in recognition of their "individual thinking...in the business world". ®

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