Patent Pledges
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Patent Pledges

Global Perspectives on Patent Law’s Private Ordering Frontier

Edited by Jorge L. Contreras and Meredith Jacob

Patent holders are increasingly making voluntary, public commitments to limit the enforcement and other exploitation of their patents. The best-known form of patent pledge is the so-called FRAND commitment, in which a patent holder commits to license patents to manufacturers of standardized products on terms that are “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.” Patent pledges have also been appearing in fields well beyond technical standard-setting, including open source software, green technology and the biosciences. This book explores the motivations, legal characteristics and policy goals of these increasingly popular private ordering tools.
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Chapter 4: Patent pledges in green technology

Bassem Awad


Technology lies at the centre of the climate change debate and plays a pivotal role in addressing the global challenge of climate change and sustainable development in today’s economy. Access and timely diffusion of green technologies required for adaptation and mitigation are among the major challenges faced by the international community. The role of the patent system has become the subject of increased attention in climate change discussions on technology transfer. The core technology that should be disseminated with the patent is not easily accessible in practice or has little technical value. New mechanisms for collaborative innovation are required to foster the green technology sector. This chapter argues that green patent pledges can provide a new mechanism of collaboration and transferring green technology innovation, which can work within the existing intellectual property legal regime. The chapter examines the various forms of patent pledges related to green technology and their rationales by analysing three main models of green patent pledges: Eco-Patent Commons, GreenXchange and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). The chapter concludes by suggesting a model legal framework for green patent pledges and calls for a global system to share green patents governed by an international body where accession rules are open to third parties based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

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