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Eco-Friendly Patents: Major Companies Collaborating Towards a Greener Earth

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I recently posted commentary on the trend towards eco-friendly patents and inventions. Today, I saw greater evidence of just how sizable this opportunity really is.

 

In a grand-scale movement towards a greener Earth, Bloomberg.com (January 14, 2008) reports that major corporations are being asked to donate eco-friendly patents for collaborative, ubiquitous use in "fighting global warming and promoting sustainable development." Patents, being the beating heart of profitability, are the most closely held and valuable properties owned by corporations. (Just last year, the USPTO issued over 3,000 patents to IBM alone.) As a Florida patent attorney in Fort Lauderdale, I’ve little witnessed anyone giving over their patent rights for free–in my work here in Florida, elsewhere in the United States, or in more global spaces.

 

Yet that is what major companies are being asked to do in a herculean effort called the "Eco-Patent Commons" put forth by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. IBM is leading the charge, and three other big corporations have already signed on: Sony, Nokia Oyj, and Pitney Bowes. IBM offers their catalytic reactor, which converts pollutants into stable gases using low-radio frequency energy ions. Additionally, they will donate a patent that provides an alternative to Stryofoam peanuts for packaging. Sony is donating a patent that purifies wastewater using a natural coagulant, while Nokia is giving away their rights to a patent that transforms old cell phones into other electronic devices (e.g., calculators, clocks).

 

Encouraging companies to donate their patents is no mean feat, but it’s surely made easier with companies as large as these at the forefront of the effort. And, it shows you just how much emphasis is being placed on eco-friendly innovations. For any inventor who wants to break in, donating a patent of wide-scale environmental importance may be an interesting, strategic business move to gain notoriety towards your next big idea. Let me know if I can help: (866) 433-2288.

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