The Global View

Share your eco-patents site unveiled

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It’s not often Greenbang is impressed. Come to think of it, the last time was when she saw a busker playing one guitar whilst balancing another on his nose. Now, that was impressive.

But this is also impressive: a website set up to share eco-tech patents, administered by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The likes of IBM, Nokia and Sony have already coughed up some patents and have promised not to get all legal on other companies who use them.

Patents pledged to the Eco-Patent Commons — originally proposed at IBM’s Global Innovation Outlook conference — feature innovations focused on environmental matters and innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environmental benefit. For example, a company may pledge a patent for a manufacturing process that reduces hazardous waste generation, or energy or water consumption. A pledged patent covering a procurement or logistics solution may reduce fuel consumption.

Examples of the environmental benefits expected for pledged patents include:
• Energy conservation or improved energy or fuel efficiency
• Pollution prevention (source reduction, waste reduction)
• Use of environmentally preferable materials or substances
• Water or materials use reduction
• Increased recycling opportunity.

“The Eco-Patent Commons provides a unique and significant leadership opportunity for business to make a difference –- sharing their innovations and solutions in support of sustainable development,” said Bjorn Stigson, President of the WBCSD. “The Eco-Patent Commons also provides an opportunity for companies and other entities to identify areas of common interest and establish new relationships that can lead to further development in the patented technologies and elsewhere.”