One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist approach to intellectual property is made to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and permit New Product Ideas to capture the profits from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also causes it to be tougher for new and much more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why there are now other approaches being utilized 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 planet in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving out its patents for free. It is essential to be aware of the rationale here. Why would an organization that had worked so difficult to produce and protect its technology looking at the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away for free?
Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to safeguard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it will be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their production of electric cars never came to pass. Instead, it saw the electric car market stagnate at lower than 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from trying to prevent others from building electric cars to attempting to encourage them into the market.
Portion of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are built, then more battery recharging stations is going to be built too. This might make electric cars become a little more visible, and a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen rather than diminish its position because they build the dimensions of the electrical car market, and consequently, build its own share from the total automotive market.
This type of careful control over intellectual property at company level, maintained by policy-level awareness, could be a powerful way to support 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. This type of water supply sector is fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events including 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 also to address malnutrition in poor countries.
For these particular industries to navigate a path around these issues, new knowledge as well as the How Do You Patent An Idea that follow will likely be essential. As well as in knowledge economies, intellectual property either can be an enabler or an inhibitor.
When the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented within an industry, it may decelerate technology innovation and uptake, like in the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open up their innovation processes and move away from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is rtaotl to guard and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing which leads to accelerated Inventhelp Invention Marketing along with a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives within a sector: exactly what Tesla was dreaming about in electric vehicles.
This approach to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature within the software industry and healthcare. It has given usage of life-saving medicines to millions of people, specifically in developing countries through patent pools, including the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their intellectual property, but small companies could also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.