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Environmental Technologies, Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Accessing, Obtaining and Protecting

  • Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown

Many disciplines are relevant to combating climate change. This challenging book draws together legal, regulatory, geographic, industrial and professional perspectives and explores the role of technologies in addressing climate change through mitigation, adaptation and information gathering. It explores some key issues. Is intellectual property part of the solution, an obstacle to change or peripheral? Are there more important questions? Do they receive the attention they deserve? And from whom? This innovative book will play an important role in stimulating holistic discussion and action on an issue of key importance to society.
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Chapter 8: Achieving greater access: a new role for established legal principles?

Abbe E.L. Brown

Extract

This chapter discusses the extent to which different legal fields might be combined to make a substantive contribution to the battle against climate change. Firstly, how can intellectual property (IP), competition and human rights, separately and together, assist in identifying essential technologies? Secondly, if the goal in respect of climate change should not be access to essential technologies but the generation of and use of more technologies of all kinds, what role can be played by IP, com- petition and human rights? Finally, it will be argued that greater access to some climate change-related technologies is required – and when this is so, what is the place of the three fields in delivering this? This chapter will focus on solutions which could be developed in the European Union (EU). It is of course the case, as recognized throughout this collection, that climate change has implications well beyond the EU. Yet the EU is a sophisticated legal environment; if a solution exploring the interface between these three fields cannot be developed there, this may suggest that the approach is not of wider global relevance. Throughout this project, a question has been raised frequently: what is an essential technology? A state seeking to address climate change in the light of its Kyoto Protocol obligations in relation to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions1 might seem to be faced with a wider range of options.

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