Inventing Clean Technologies
Intellectual Property and the Environment series
This book was prompted in part by a request by Philip Crisp, at the time special counsel for the Australian Government Solicitor, to present a ‘blue skies’ seminar at the 4th Australian Government Solicitor IP Law, Policy and Practice symposium in August 2007. His instructions were as follows: I note that about two weeks ago the PM [Kevin Rudd] said that the solution to climate change was largely in improved technology. Some might prefer to emphasise individual responsibility. Nevertheless I thought it was an interesting proposition and to the extent that it is valid it would follow that the regimes for protection of intellectual property in such technology are critical – in particular getting an appropriate balance between the proprietary rights of creators and the need to get the useful technologies adopted widely, including within countries that are net importers of intellectual property/ technology. There are externalities in the way economic activities affect climate, which we seek to convert into internalities through carbon trading. One might make an analogy with intellectual property regimes which are essentially a way of converting knowledge, at various levels of distillation, into a proprietary thing . . . There may be issues about whether the intellectual property regimes we have in place are effective in promoting the most useful technologies, in the most rapid and efficient way, without duplication of research. When one thinks about what is at stake, there is no more important role for today’s intellectual property systems than to generate solutions for a problem that could...