EPO action on Green Patents

Guat Hong Teh sent me this link to an article in Nature http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100505/full/465021a.html describing an EPO initiative to make clean energy patents easily accessible in a central database:

The EPO trawled through 60 million patent documents and re-classified clean-energy patents according to 160 technical categories, such as carbon capture and solar photovoltaics. This should make it much easier to find patent information. The database launches in June through esp@cenet (http://www.espacenet.com), a gateway to European patent databases. Last year, the EPO received 1,259 renewable-energy patent applications, up 27% from 2008, and the new database will be updated daily to include the growing number of energy patents filed at patent offices worldwide (see Going green).

This is a real groundbreaker and is part of a trend that includes a fast-track program for green energy patent applications in both the USA and the UK.

A reminder that CAS, particularly through working with ICRISAT, has been instrumental in ensuring that literature relating to CG innovations is included in EPO’s non-patent literature database. Victoria Henson-Apollonio observes that:

This ensures that patent examiners are more fully informed about prior art and helps make sure that patents don’t cover what is already known and has been put forward by others; and this results in better quality patents.

Back to green patents: check out the Global Innovations Commons.

As part of their public service program, financial and IP innovator M•CAM has assembled an impressive database of public domain IP – mostly expired patents –  in categories such as agriculture, soil erosion and solar energy.  This information is freely available, but…

…here’s the catch. We’re sharing this under a license. The license is really simple. If you use this information, you must share what you’re doing with everyone else. If you improve upon it, you must share your improvements with everyone else. And finally, if you use any of this information, you must reference the “Global Innovation Commons.” That’s it. When you take the next step, turn the possibilities into realities.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

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