Patents and Climate Change

Quick post – Over the past decade there has been a growth in patents that relate to climate change, mainly in clean energy technologies.  The growth in such patents really started following the Kyoto Protocol.  This afternoon I was fortunate to listen to a side event sponsored by the European Patent Office (EPO) entitled “Patents, technological knowledge and access to climate change mitigation technologies.”  The event focused on the evolution of the patent process for patents related to clean technology from an international prospective.  Accessibility to such patents was also discussed.

Some quick research reveals that the EPO now has an online platform for patents related to climate change.  Information can be found on the EPO’s online here.  The website also provides the results of a recent study performed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) on clean energy technologies.

I believe that improving the process of and accessibility to patenting clean energy technologies, as well as other climate change related mitigation or adaptation technologies, is going to become increasingly important in the coming decades, both in the U.S. and worldwide.  This improvement would lead to better informed policy decisions in this rather complicated field.  It is promising to know that discussions like this are part of COP 16!

Written by KEVIN REED.

One thought on “Patents and Climate Change

  1. Ahmed

    I wonder with all the patents on clean energy technology if there is any funny business going on. I recall in the past some industries would buy out the patents of competing technologies and shelf it until it was more financially beneficial to that given firm (or not use the technology at all and sell the patent when prudent; see GM purchases of specific battery patents in the early late 90s.) Was there any discussion regarding established industry overpowering new clean energy patents in this way?


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