Mother Earth Needs Your IP

March 8, 2008
IBM, Sony and others join forces to open-source "green" patent portfolios.

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.

Examples include:

  • 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.

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