The world has made tremendous strides in innovation and technological advancements for the past two centuries. But this has come at a cost, with pollution being among the most significant.
Thankfully businesses and individuals alike are taking steps to repair the damage or at least slow it down through sustainable practices. From increased dependence on sustainable power source popularity of sleek electric cars to sustainable waste management, it is obvious that the planet is on a sustainability-driven transition.
This transition relies on green innovation, which has been made possible through the ability of inventors to safeguard their work through green patents. This guide explores the role green patents have played in driving sustainability and promoting the development of eco-friendly designs.
What Are Green Patents?
Green patents are specialized intellectual property rights focusing on sustainability-driven innovations. They cover a wide range of innovations, including renewable energy, waste management, water conservation, and sustainable materials.
Like other intellectual property rights, green patents allow inventors exclusive rights to their inventions for a specific time to allow the innovator to profit from them. The innovator profits from their innovation by producing and selling goods made with the technology or licensing others to use their technology at a fee.
How Green Patents Drive Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Designs
Innovation takes a lot of research, which also means a massive investment. When investing their money and time, innovators, like other business people, want to know they will get value for their money and time once their innovation succeeds.
With green patents, an inventor has a 20 years head start to their invention, which is more than enough to profit from their innovation. With this assurance, inventors have an incentive to keep innovating.
Accelerate the Adoption of Sustainable Practices
The fact that an innovator owns the patents doesn’t mean they must create the products themselves. They can sell licensees to other producers, which helps accelerate production and accessibility to the innovations.
This situation is a win-win for all involved. The innovator profits through selling licenses, the licenses profit from the inventor’s innovation, and the environment wins.
An innovator claims their commitment to sustainable innovation by filling a green patent. But before obtaining patent rights, the applicant must provide the registering entity with every detail about their invention, which becomes public knowledge at the expiry of the patent period, helping increase public knowledge on sustainability.
But even before then, the innovator will have to market their innovation if they hope to profit from it. In doing so, they will first educate their potential customers about the importance of sustainability and how their innovation helps achieve that. In the process, the public becomes more aware of their role in promoting sustainability which can help change perceptions.
Registering Your Green Patents
Patent rights do not apply by default. So ensure your exclusive rights to your design are secure through proper registration. Countries have different approaches to green patent registration, but all have one thing in common; the registration subject must be novel, useful, and non-obvious. It also has to be focused on sustainability.
In Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office is legally mandated to register IPs. In the US, this role is played by the United States, Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO). For a global reach in protection, consider registering your green patents with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).
Climate change is among the biggest concerns for governments at the moment. Thankfully, green innovations offer a glimmer of hope for a better future, even as industries, businesses, and individuals continue to wake up to the need to take the initiative to make a difference.
As highlighted in this guide, green patents play a significant role towards this goal by incentivizing innovation and investment, accelerating the availability of sustainable options, and creating awareness of the problem and the need to change.
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