Earlier this year, several technology companies and manufacturers -- including IBM, Sony, Pitney Bowes and Nokia -- joined forces with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on an initiative designed to push a number of innovative environmentally-oriented patents into the public domain.
The pledged portfolio, dubbed the "Eco-Patent Commons," is based around environmental matters and innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environmental benefit.
- Energy conservation or improved energy or fuel efficiency
- Pollution prevention (source reduction, waste reduction)
- Use of environmentally preferable materials or substances
- Water or materials use reduction
- Increased recycling opportunity.
According to the WBCSD, membership in the Eco-Patent Commons is open to all individuals and companies pledging one or more patents. The selection and submission of each organization's patents for pledging is at the organization's discretion.