One of these lies in just how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist method of How To Get A Patent On An Idea is made 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 tougher 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, continues to be doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the planet in 2014 when he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and handing out its patents for free. It is important to comprehend the rationale here. Why would a company which had worked so hard to build up and protect its technology from the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away free of charge?

Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to guard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it might be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their creation of electric cars never came to pass. Instead, it saw the electrical 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 attempting to encourage them into the market.

Area 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 more visible, as well as a more conventional choice. Tesla believes an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen as opposed to diminish its position because they build the dimensions of the electric car market, and consequently, build its own share from the total automotive market.

This kind of careful handling of Inventhelp Stories at company level, maintained by policy-level awareness, can be considered a powerful method to support the same types of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.

Energy supply faces an array of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. The 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 complications, new knowledge and also the innovations that follow will likely be essential. As well as in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or an inhibitor.

When the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented within an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, including inside the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open their innovation processes and depart 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 hoping 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 offers given use of life-saving medicines to millions of people, especially in developing countries through patent pools, such as the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Tech, 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.

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