One of these lies in just 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 allow 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 causes it to be more difficult 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 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 handing out its patents for free. It is essential to be aware of the rationale here. Why would an organization which had worked so desperately to build up and protect its technology from its global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away free of charge?
Tesla initially developed Invention Prototype its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it might be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their production of electric cars never arrived at pass. Instead, it saw the electrical car market stagnate at lower 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 is going to be built too. This might make electric cars become more visible, and a more conventional choice. Tesla believes an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen rather than diminish its position by building the size of the electric car market, and for that reason, build their own share from the total automotive market.
This kind of careful handling of intellectual property at company level, supported by policy-level awareness, can be quite a powerful method to keep the same forms 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 Patent Help is restricted by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events such as flooding and expenses related to 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 particular industries to navigate a path around these issues, new knowledge and the innovations that follow is going to be essential. As well as in knowledge economies, intellectual property may either be an enabler or an inhibitor.
If the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented in an industry, it may slow down technology innovation and uptake, such as inside 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 protect and prolong lifecycles. This modification may see knowledge sharing which leads to accelerated innovation cycles along with a wksgqs rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: precisely 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 has given access to life-saving medicines to huge numbers of people, especially in Inventhelp New Inventions through patent pools, including the Medicine Patent Pool. This type of project depends on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their intellectual property, 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.