One of those is based on how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and concepts. A protectionist approach to intellectual property is made to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and enable Product Patent to capture the earnings off their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this can make it more difficult for new and more sustainable technologies to get developed and adopted. That explains why nowadays there are other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has been doing that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the entire world in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and handing out its patents free of charge. It is essential to understand the rationale here. Why would a company that had worked so difficult to produce and protect its technology looking at the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away for free?
Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to safeguard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it might be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their manufacture of electric cars never arrived at pass. Instead, it saw the electrical car market stagnate at less than 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from trying to prevent others from building electric cars to seeking to encourage them to the market.
Part of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are designed, then more battery recharging stations will likely be built too. This might make electric cars become more visible, as well as a more conventional choice. Tesla believes an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen as opposed to diminish its position because they build the dimensions of the electrical car market, and as a result, build its own share in the total automotive market.
This kind of careful management of intellectual property at company level, backed up by policy-level awareness, can be a powerful way to secure the same kinds of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.
Energy supply faces a range of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. This type of water supply sector is fixed by Invent Help Patent Information, pollutants, extreme environmental events such as flooding and expenses related to supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food as well as address malnutrition in poor countries.
For such industries to navigate a path around these issues, new knowledge as well as the innovations that follow is going to be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property may either be an enabler or an inhibitor.
When the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented within an industry, it can decelerate technology innovation and uptake, like in the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead start their innovation processes and move away from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is used to guard and prolong lifecycles. This transformation may see knowledge sharing which leads to accelerated innovation cycles and a vyltsm rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: exactly what Tesla was longing for in electric vehicles.
This strategy to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature within the software industry and healthcare. It provides given use of life-saving medicines to millions of people, particularly in developing countries through patent pools, like the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies upon Inventhelp Products sharing their intellectual property, but small companies could also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s not every about open IP.