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.

Conclusion: Intellectual Property and Climate Law

Matthew Rimmer

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


This book is part of a wider effort to develop a comprehensive discipline of climate law and policy. The text has a dual function. It seeks to extend the boundaries of the emerging field of climate law to include a proper consideration of the discipline of intellectual property law. It could thus be described as on the hinterland of climate law. The book also aims to redress the discipline of intellectual property’s neglect of environmental issues. It also aims to broaden the perspective of the discipline of intellectual property law by considering its application to a host of environmentally sound technologies. Tim Bonyhady and Peter Christoff observe: The new field of ‘climate law’ which has begun exciting attention in this context, extends beyond new legislation directly aimed at mitigating global warming such as statutory definitions of emissions targets and provisions creating new forms of carbon property rights. Climate law also includes the pre-existing environmental law framework in so far as it either prevents, allows or requires the consideration of greenhouse emissions in environmental assessment and development consent processes.1 Bonyhady and Christoff note that the scope of the new discipline of climate law is vast: ‘As is often the case with environmental law, the [topics] extend from the international to the national to the State and to the local.’2 Moreover, they comment: ‘As so often with environmental law, they also involve constitutional law, administrative law, property law, criminal law, contract law, tort law, corporations law, trade practices law, insurance law, human...

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