One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist approach to How To Submit A Patent is designed to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and permit innovators to capture the profits from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also makes it harder for new and more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why nowadays there are other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla, continues to be doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the entire world in 2014 when he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving out its patents free of charge. It is essential to understand the rationale here. Why would a company that had worked so hard to build up and protect its technology from its global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away at no cost?
Tesla initially created a patent portfolio to safeguard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it might be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their manufacture 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 attempting to prevent others from building electric cars to trying to encourage them 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 could make electric cars be a little more visible, and a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that the open intellectual property strategy can strengthen rather than diminish its position because they build the size of the electrical car market, and as a result, build their own share of the total automotive market.
This kind of careful handling of Inventhelp Licensing Expo at company level, maintained by policy-level awareness, can be a powerful way to support the same kinds 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 fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events like flooding and expenses 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 as well as address malnutrition in poor countries.
For these industries to navigate a path around these problems, new knowledge and also the innovations that follow will be essential. And in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or an inhibitor.
If the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented within an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, like in the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open their innovation processes and move away from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is used to briaac and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles along with a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was dreaming about in electric vehicles.
This method to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature inside the software industry and healthcare. It has given access to life-saving medicines to thousands of people, especially in developing countries through patent pools, such as the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies upon multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Inventhelp Invention Ideas, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.