One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist approach to intellectual property is designed to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow Inventhelp Inventor Service to capture the earnings from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also causes it to be harder for new and much more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why there are now 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 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and handing out its patents at no cost. It is essential to be aware of the rationale here. Why would a company which had worked so desperately to develop 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 guard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it might be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their creation of electric cars never got to pass. Instead, it saw the electric car market stagnate at under 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from trying to prevent others from building electric cars to trying to encourage them in to the market.
Part of the reasoning here is when more electric cars are made, then more battery recharging stations will be built too. This could make electric cars be a little more visible, along with a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen as opposed to diminish its position by building the dimensions of the electrical car market, and as a result, build their own share from the total automotive market.
This kind of careful management of intellectual property at company level, supported by policy-level awareness, could be a powerful way to secure 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. The water supply sector is fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events like 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 to address malnutrition in poor countries.
For these particular industries to navigate a path around these issues, new knowledge and also the Innovation that follow will likely be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or an inhibitor.
When the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented in an industry, it may decelerate technology innovation and uptake, including inside the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open up their innovation processes and depart from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is rtaotl to guard and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing leading to accelerated File A Patent as well as a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was longing for in electric vehicles.
This method 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 huge numbers of people, especially in developing countries through patent pools, including the Medicine Patent Pool. This sort of project depends 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 not all about open IP.