The threat posed by the climate issue is existential, necessitating a quick, coordinated global response. To ensure human survival, moving toward a low-carbon, sustainable future is now essential as rising temperatures become more severe due to rising sea levels, more significant severe weather, and other effects. This has raised the need for private and public sectors to consider green inventions for better sustainability.
Given this urgency, an increasing number of actors in the public and corporate sectors have shown their dedication to reducing climate change and enhancing resilience by launching audacious policy initiatives.
The advancement of technology will be essential to addressing this generational dilemma. The potential to cut emissions at scale is enormous in promising areas of innovation such as energy efficiency, carbon removal, electrified mobility, and renewable energy. However, policies governing intellectual property that encourage private funding of R&D are necessary to move these climate solutions from the laboratory into the real world.
Protecting the intellectual property underpinning this sustainable future is one way countries can promote the adoption of green inventions and ensure a smooth transition to a carbon-neutral global economy.
What is Green Inventions?
Green Inventions, called clean technology, is the broad category of inventions and technologies supporting sustainability and environmental protection. In general, the phrase refers to any technology that reduces adverse effects on the environment. The primary goals of green inventions are pollution reduction and natural resource conservation.
There are many different kinds of green technologies in many other industries. To aid in the classification of patent data about environmental technologies, the International Patent Classification Committee has created a “Green Inventory.” The IPC Green Inventory covers several critical areas: waste management, transportation, energy conservation, agriculture, and forestry.
To provide greener alternatives to fossil fuels, alternative energy production focuses on developing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. Energy conservation technology aims to use less energy by improving efficiency in things like electric appliances, lighting, and building insulation. Transportation innovations aim to decrease the environmental effect of automobiles by using electrification, alternative fuels, and lower emissions. Technologies for waste management manage waste and recyclables in an eco-friendly manner. Green innovations in agriculture and forestry promote sustainable agricultural and land management techniques.
By encouraging the creation and use of these kinds of environmentally friendly innovations, we can significantly reduce the effects of climate change, save non-renewable resources, and create a more sustainable future for future generations. This is where green inventions come into play to make the world a more suitable place to live in.
What is Green Intellectual Property?
Because patents give innovators and inventors limited-time monopoly rights, they are essential in fostering technological progress. The TRIPS agreement acknowledges that an efficient intellectual property system may play a significant role in transferring and spreading technology in a way that is advantageous to producers and users.
“Green Intellectual Property” became a concept as the need to create environmental technologies and address problems such as climate change grew. The term Green IP mainly refers to using several intellectual property rights, such as patents, Eco-product trademarks, industrial designs, and plant variety rights, to protect developments in green technology. These green technologies aim to lessen the environmental risks of growing urbanization, industrialization, and human activity.
Fast-track processes for green patent applications have been in place since 2009 in various patent offices due to the importance of green inventions in building a more sustainable future. It also maintains offices in South Korea, Australia, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. By accelerating IP protection, the objective is to hasten the creation and commercialization of innovative, environmentally friendly goods and procedures.
Prioritizing the issuance of patents for green inventions and bolstering national IP frameworks are crucial if developing nations are to fully utilize and profit from green technology. An efficient Green IP framework can offer the best conditions for the global dissemination of low-carbon solutions when combined with government backing and private sector involvement.
By connecting innovators worldwide through databases of green technologies, international collaboration can also promote technology transfer in vital fields like carbon removal and renewable energy. All countries may collaborate to create and implement the patented green inventions required to solve the climate catastrophe if they adopt proactive policies.
Why Do You Need Green IP?
Protecting intellectual property rights, or IPRs, promotes technological innovation. They offer transferable, assignable, licensed, and infringement-proof property rights. The volume of IP applications has increased worldwide, especially in patents, indicating the growing significance of IPRs in the contemporary economy. Green technologies have grown in importance, especially in solving environmental issues and shifting to a low-carbon future.
Technological innovation is critical to the answer as we move toward a green future. Through its WIPO GREEN project, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has actively supported and encouraged this. Launched in 2013, WIPO GREEN seeks to encourage adopting and applying environmentally friendly technologies in the shift to a low-carbon future by catalyzing and accelerating green technology development and transfer.
The key to releasing the creativity required to create cleaner, greener, and more efficient technologies is a robust intellectual property regime promoting and fostering innovation. With finite natural resources and an increasing world population, these technology solutions will be essential to reaching sustainability goals.
WIPO GREEN acts as a green technology online marketplace, linking green technology suppliers and technology buyers. Through its database, which presently includes over 3,000 innovations and demands, it makes it easier to create, adopt, and implement green technology solutions.
It is also clear that intellectual property rights are essential to advancing and adopting green technology. It plays a major role in advancing green technology, which includes a broad spectrum of goods and methods meant to encourage sustainability and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Significance of Green IP in India
There is an urgent need to develop, expand, and make our IP framework more advantageous and accessible globally. Moreover, the emphasis should be on promoting green technology innovation and spreading and adopting green innovations globally. This incentivizes consumers to choose green products and services and eases the export of green technology to other nations.
Article 7 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement highlights intellectual property rights’ role in promoting technological innovation and the transfer and dissemination of technology for the mutual benefit of specialized knowledge producers and users.
It also emphasizes the importance of a rights-obligations balance that promotes social and economic welfare. Although TRIPS has not explicitly addressed the notion of green innovation, efforts should be made to promote green innovation globally.
Green technology can help reduce environmental risks by growing urbanization, human activity, and globalization. Thus, it is critical to safeguard green IP to support the creation and use of green inventions. This initiative can support global sustainable development and environmental preservation in the long run.
Status of Green Inventions in India
India has developed specialized sectors and expertise, making it advantageous in the “green marathon.” India now has the third-place position in Asia for low-carbon environmental goods and services (LCEGS) sales. This demonstrates Indis’s sizeable demand for eco-friendly products and services. The nation has committed to sustainable energy development by planning massive green energy projects. This includes large-scale solar and wind power ventures.
The National Solar Mission is a prime example of India’s proactive attitude to green energy efforts. Its goal is to achieve 20 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022. The nation’s high-value Green Inventions comprise around 13% of the global average. As such, it is clear that green technologies are becoming more and more critical. In contrast to other low- to middle-income nations, India has filed a disproportionately large number of high-value Green technology-based patent applications. This demonstrates its dedication to innovation in green technology.
Moreover, India, a nation with a large population, benefits uniquely from the labor-intensive character of green technologies. Focusing on labor-intensive green technology promotes long-term sustainability and economic growth by generating job opportunities. India will gain significant economic growth through innovation, job creation, and environmental advantages if it continues to adopt green technology.
Initiatives to protect Green IP
Governments and the commercial sector worldwide have worked together on proactive programs to strengthen and preserve Green IP in response to the pressing need to conserve natural resources and advance sustainable technology. These programs seek to advance information exchange, expedite the patent examination process, and stimulate research and development in green technology. Among the noteworthy projects are:
1. The International Patent Classification (IPC) Green Inventory:
Introduced in 2010 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), this web-based database links to the IPC system and makes searching for patent data about ecologically sound technologies (ESTs) easier.
2. Clean Energy Research Centre:
Created in 2009 due to US-China cooperation, this program enables specialized teams of researchers, scientists, and engineers from both nations to study and develop clean energy technology. A US-China Renewable Energy Forum has also been created to promote collaboration on intellectual property issues associated with renewable energy.
3. Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre (JCERDC):
Established in 2009 as a joint US-Indian project, the JCERC seeks to solve global environmental sustainability and energy advancement concerns.
4. Green Technology Pilot Programme:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched the Green Technology Pilot Program in 2009 to expedite the review of patent applications. These patent applications mainly concern green technology, energy conservation, environmental protection, and carbon emission reduction.
5. The Eco-Patent Commons:
It was established in 2008 by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and corporations like Sony and Nokia. This community seeks to exchange patents and knowledge about environmental issues, energy efficiency, preventing pollution, recycling, and water conservation. You may access protected technologies for free without registering or providing notice by joining this group.
These programs show a dedication to promoting creativity, cooperation, and information exchange in green technology. This will eventually help safeguard and develop green intellectual property globally.
In conclusion, the worldwide endeavor to promote sustainable technology and tackle environmental concerns necessitates establishing and protecting green inventions. The partnerships of governmental bodies, corporate entities, and global associations highlight the shared dedication to promoting creativity and information exchange.
The pressing need for strong IP protection has arisen from the need to preserve natural resources and reduce environmental threats. Substantial intellectual property rights are essential for green technology companies to protect their innovations and enable knowledge transfer. Ultimately, this protection helps create a more sustainable and ecologically sensitive future by encouraging innovation and commercialization of green technology.
The limited supply of non-renewable resources highlights the need for a change to a more sustainable way of living. More excellent protection of intellectual property rights is essential to this process, and green technologies are crucial to this shift.
IP protection facilitates the creation, adoption, and international dissemination of technologies. These technologies are critical for mitigating climate change, advancing environmental sustainability, and developing a more resource-efficient economy.
International cooperation and bolstering intellectual property rights protection are crucial in molding new international environmental regulations. Moreover, it also helps propel the shift to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future.
Author: Anand Barnabas, Practice Head – Patent, Mechanical & Automotive