Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Inventing Clean Technologies

Intellectual Property and the Environment series

Matthew Rimmer

In the wake of the international summits in Copenhagen and Cancún, there is an urgent need to consider the role of intellectual property law in encouraging research, development, and diffusion of clean technologies to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. This book charts the patent landscapes and legal conflicts emerging in a range of fields of innovation – including renewable forms of energy, such as solar power, wind power, and geothermal energy; as well as biofuels, green chemistry, green vehicles, energy efficiency, and smart grids.

Chapter 8: The Eco-Patent Commons: Patent Pools, Clearing Houses, and Open Innovation

Matthew Rimmer

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, environmental law, intellectual property law


Creating a better world means helping to set it on the right path. We are all accustomed to keeping an eye on the bottom line, but when we waste resources, we waste money as well. Imagination is infinite – resources aren’t. It is time to act accordingly. Sustainability is not a burden. It is an opportunity. Increasing sustainable practices can increase profits as well. But getting there will require innovation and disruption. Finding new solutions to old challenges means seeking new directions. Great movements create a ripple effect. The greatest accomplishment of the space programme may have been landing a man on the moon, but his greatest benefit is what we learned along the way. Sharing ideas and patents may feel like we are giving up control of our individual accomplishments, but the benefits we stand to gain are exponential. The time is now. The race to green prosperity has begun. There is only one real choice. Do you have it occur before or behind the times? The best way to plan for the future is to make sure that it is the future you plan for. GreenXchange 2010 advertisement1 In response to the problems associated with the research, development and diffusion of clean technologies, a number of co-operative solutions have been put forward. In an overview of the Copenhagen negotiations, Robert Collier and Josephine Mutugu canvassed the option of open source innovation to deal with research and development in respect of clean technologies: At the UNFCCC, many G-77 delegations are...

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