One of these lies in 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 innovators to capture the earnings from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also causes it to be harder for new and a lot 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 been doing exactly that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the world in 2014 when he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and handing out its patents for free. It is important to comprehend the rationale here. Why would a business who had worked so difficult to develop and protect its technology from its global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away at no cost?
Tesla initially developed How Do I Patent A Product its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it would be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their production of electric cars never came to pass. Instead, it saw the electrical car market stagnate at less than 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from seeking to prevent others from building electric cars to seeking to encourage them into the market.
Portion of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are designed, then more battery recharging stations is going to 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 rather than diminish its position by building the dimensions of the electric car market, and consequently, build its own share from the total automotive market.
This sort of careful handling of intellectual property at company level, supported by policy-level awareness, can be quite a powerful way to secure the same kinds 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. The New Product Idea is fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events such as flooding and costs 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 problems, new knowledge and the innovations that follow is going to be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property may either be an enabler or an inhibitor.
If 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 depart from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property can be used to safeguard and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles along with a wksgqs rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives within a sector: exactly what Tesla was hoping for in electric vehicles.
This approach to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature inside the software industry and healthcare. It offers given access to life-saving medicines to huge numbers of people, specifically in Find A Patent Attorney through patent pools, like the Medicine Patent Pool. This type of project relies on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their intellectual property, but small companies may also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.