Green IP

Despite the persistent few naysayers, it is now clear that there is a fundamental, global environmental, ecological challenge to future of our planet.  Not only the impact of the exploitation on natural resources, but also the consequence of a high-carbon economy.  Resources not only used, but over used.  The environment not only polluted, but also global warming triggered.  Economic growth, the basis of increased prosperity, built on the one-time use of increasingly stretched and limited resources and the base level of the environment lowered.

Naturally this inspires some at least to rise to the challenge: build economic growth while balancing the uses of resources and ecological impact.  Innovation driving new solutions to old problems, to new problems, and innovation, as ever  creating economic growth.  We look then to innovation in the creation, supply and use of energy, innovation in farming, health, and lifestyle, and new thinking about our relationship with our planet.

At the same time we have a dynamic economic base across the world.   A global economy with countries and regions having economies at different stages of development, and different needs locally, nationally, and regionally.  No one economic model, no one road map for the future.  Bringing rapidly developing economies up to the level of those who rose on the back of a high resource exploitation presents particular challenges, even more so  when you remove the range of options more developed nations have had.. There is inevitably an impact on how economies can develop, and this will increase the need for innovation, or at least it should be a spur.

Innovation then is at the heart of our response, the global response to the varied Green issues that we face.  Whether the blinkered few like it or not, we are in this together, and that presents particular challenges for the the creators, managers and users of IP.

IP has one of its more tenets, principles, the idea of giving exclusivity to one individual, one organization over their creative contribution to society. An exclusivity limited by scope, territory and time.  The individual or organization can then chose how to exploit that exclusivity.  If they can’t do that fully themselves they can allow, license others to do it in return for a fee, a royalty.  Licensing is a common use of IP.  It makes economic sense all round.  The owner and the licensee making money in a well struck commercial deal.  The driving factor being exactly that, a commercial deal.

The IP system, the global IP system and the patch work of national IP systems is geared to do that, to allow the commercial exploitation of IP, to foster and drive commercial exploitation.  We have seen to often the collision between commercial exploitation and environmental issues.  The two are at odds if not diametrically opposed.  There are those in business who see a common path for business and ethical responsibility, but mainstream commercial reality is driven by creating, driving and securing shareholder value, if not at any price, as close to any price as the market dictates.  These drivers set the priority for the IP industry as it works the IP system.

The task now for the IP industry is to demonstrator and deliver when using the IP system to create commercial value, for its companies, its clients, while at the same time enabling solutions which foster and create responses which answer the environmental and ecological challenges we face.  Delivering value and a being Green are not diametrically opposed but it does take positive intent and positive action.  How the IP industry takes up that gauntlet is critical, and The Intellectual Property Observer will be bring insight and understanding and a necessary critique as the challenge is taken up.