A while ago I wrote a blog post about being profitable and still doing good things for the climate. I believe that there are many inventors out there who have found really cool and smart solutions to many of the problems of today, for instance how to provide electricity to poor and rural locations, how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, how to handle waste and how to provide clean water for the people of the world, but that these inventors sometime struggle to find the right business partners to help them take their inventions to the market.
In an article by Antoine Dechezleprêtre at the London School of Economics and Political the fast-tracking of patent applications that relate to green innovations is analyzed. Green innovations can be related to many different technology fields, such as energy saving, transportation, water handling, biotech, renewable, storage, lighting as well as to recycling, solar and wind. The climate-change related technologies do however appear to represent a majority of the fast-tracked applications.
According to the article seven intellectual property offices have introduced a fast-track system for green patent applications – the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Israel and the UK by the end of 2011. These fast-track systems usually comprise an accelerated examination, which for some applicants is of course not desirable, which is also the reason to why many green patent applications are not put through this fast-track system. The article points to studies showing that the green applications that are fast-tracked relates to high value innovations that may be the subject of commercial interest from business partners.
Just at this moment the world’s leaders have gathered in Paris, to set new goals for how to stop or at least minimize the effects of the climate change, and we all hope that this will be a successful meeting in contrast to the meeting in Copenhagen six years ago. During those years we have seen a lot of very innovative technical solutions with regards to for instance reducing carbon dioxide emissions, using raw materials in a more sustainable manner, recycling and more efficient use of energy.
Fast-tracking patent applications relating to green innovations thus appears to be a way of inducing more commercialization around green innovations, thereby creating an environment where innovators more easily can reach potential investors, entrepreneurs and other business partners so that their inventions can be realized and hopefully be a good step on the way of achieving the goals hopefully set out during the Paris meeting.
Sofia Willquist, European Patent Attorney