One of these lies in the way the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and concepts. A protectionist strategy to Ideas For Inventions was created to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow 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 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 been doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the entire world in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving out its patents free of charge. It is important to be aware of the rationale here. Why would a company who had worked so hard to develop and protect its technology from the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away for free?

Tesla initially developed 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 seeking to prevent others from building electric cars to attempting to encourage them in to the market.

Part of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are designed, then more battery recharging stations will be built too. This might make electric cars become a little more visible, and a more conventional choice. Tesla believes an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen as opposed to diminish its position by building the size of the electrical car market, and as a result, build its very own share from the total automotive market.

This kind of careful management of Patent An Invention at company level, supported by policy-level awareness, can be a powerful method to keep the same types of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.

Energy supply faces a multitude of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. Water supply sector is restricted by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events like 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 particular industries to navigate a path around these problems, new knowledge as well as the innovations that follow will be essential. As well as in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or perhaps an inhibitor.

If the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented within an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, like within 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 utilized 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 strategy to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature within the software industry and healthcare. It provides given access to life-saving medicines to thousands of people, particularly in developing countries through patent pools, including the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies upon multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Inventhelp Reviews, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s not every about open IP.

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