One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and concepts. A protectionist strategy to intellectual property was created to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and permit New Product Idea to capture the earnings using their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this makes it more difficult for new and much more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why there are now other approaches being used to go key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has been doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the world in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving away its patents for free. It is important to be aware of the rationale here. Why would an organization who had worked so desperately to build up and protect its technology looking at the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away at no cost?
Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to protect its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it will be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their creation 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 seeking to prevent others from building electric cars to trying to encourage them to the market.
Portion of the reasoning here is when more electric cars are built, then more battery recharging stations will likely be built too. This would make electric cars become a little more visible, as well as a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen instead of diminish its position by building how big the electrical car market, and as a result, build their own share from the total automotive market.
This kind of careful handling of intellectual property at company level, backed up by policy-level awareness, could be a powerful method to support the same types 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. The water supply sector is fixed by What Is A Patent, pollutants, extreme environmental events like 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 these industries to navigate a path around these problems, new knowledge as well as the innovations that follow will likely be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property either can be an enabler or even an inhibitor.
In the event the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented in an industry, it could slow down technology innovation and uptake, including 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 is used to safeguard and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles along with a vyltsm rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives within a sector: precisely what Tesla was dreaming about in electric vehicles.
This strategy to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature in the software industry and healthcare. It has given access to life-saving medicines to thousands of people, especially in developing countries through patent pools, including the Medicine Patent Pool. This type of project relies upon Inventhelp New Store Products sharing their intellectual property, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s not all about open IP.