One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist method of Innovation was created to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow innovators to capture the profits from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also makes it more difficult for new and more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why now there are other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has become doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the entire world in 2014 when he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving away its patents at no cost. It is essential to understand the rationale here. Why would a company that had worked so hard to build up and protect its technology looking at the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away free of charge?
Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to guard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it will be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their manufacture of electric cars never got to 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 attempting to encourage them in to the market.
Portion of the reasoning here is when more electric cars are designed, then more battery recharging stations will be built too. This would make electric cars be a little more visible, and a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen instead of diminish its position by building how big the electric car market, and for that reason, build its own share of the total automotive market.
This kind of careful handling of How To Get A Patent For An Idea at company level, supported by policy-level awareness, can become a powerful method to keep the same forms of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.
Energy supply faces an array 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 water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events such as flooding and expenses associated with supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food and to address malnutrition in poor countries.
For these industries to navigate a path around these complications, new knowledge and also the innovations that follow will likely be essential. As well as in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or even an inhibitor.
In the event the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented within an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, including inside 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 briaac and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles as well as a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was longing for in electric vehicles.
This approach to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature in the software industry and healthcare. It offers given access to life-saving medicines to huge numbers of people, particularly in developing countries through patent pools, like the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Inventions, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.