Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Joshua D. Sarnoff

This innovative research tool presents insights from a global group of leading intellectual property, environment, trade, and industrial scholars on the emerging and controversial topic of intellectual property and climate change. It provides a unique review of the scientific background, international treaties, and political context of climate change; identifies critical conflicts and differences of approach; and describes the relevant intellectual property law doctrines and policy options for regulating, developing, or disseminating needed technologies, activities, and business practices.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Joshua D. Sarnoff

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, intellectual property law


Over the next few decades, tens of trillions of dollars will be needed for the development and dissemination of a wide range of new technologies to upgrade infrastructure and to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change (climate change technologies). As the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) put it, human ‘survival depends on our improvement of technology’. Climate change is expected to cause dramatic changes to weather patterns; to adversely affect health (particularly for vulnerable populations), ecosystems, food production and water availability; to displace populations and disrupt land and resource ownership; and to interfere with existing patterns of satisfying basic human needs. These developments, and the ability of society to mitigate and adapt to climate changes, will be affected in numerous ways by intellectual property rights. This book provides an introduction to the interactions of climate change with the global intellectual property, innovation, human rights and international trade systems. The book is designed for policy makers, academics and students, business people, and other members of civil society. Its principal purpose is educational in a broad sense – it may be used in negotiating strategy rooms and corporate boardrooms as well as in classrooms. The goal is to provide a short and useful overview of the concerns and social challenges that have arisen or are likely to arise at the intersections of environment law, public policy, international trade, government regulation and private markets, and intellectual property.