April 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of “World Intellectual Property Day,” which is aimed at raising awareness and understanding of the role of intellectual property (IP) rights in innovation and creativity. The campaign chosen for this year, 2020, focuses on innovation for a green future.
As usual, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is promoting the generation and diffusion of many different events and initiatives around the chosen theme so that people from all over the world can take part. Among these events, many of them of a face-to-face nature, we can find exhibitions, debates, workshops, awards, conferences, seminars, talks and solidarity runs.
WIPO recently announced on its website that “in light of the coronavirus pandemic […], it will not organize any physical events, and encourages the World IP Day community to move celebrations to virtual channels.
Nowadays we live in a hyper-connected society, which allows us to follow and participate in the events without having to do so in person, or even to view them on a deferred basis. Therefore, at Ponti we believe that the diffusion and participation in this campaign will be equal or even surpass that of past editions. We join the celebration of this virtual campaign and we encourage all individuals and organizations interested in IP rights to do so and take part in some activity, for example, through social networks using the hashtag #WorldIPDay.
As for this year’s theme, it is linked to the current context we are living in: the Covid-19 crisis. This pandemic has led to great changes in our daily lives and has highlighted the words of the well-known naturalist David Attenborough, who says: “as a species, we are expert problem-solvers”. We can even extend this statement to extremely complex challenges on a global scale, such as the situation arising from the coronavirus.
It is undeniable that another of the great global challenges that humanity must continue to tackle is climate change and to lead our planet towards a sustainable future. To this end, it will be an absolute priority to put all our collective efforts into innovating and generating green technological solutions.
The concept of “Green Technologies” encompasses innovations in a wide range of fields, such as energy, industry, transport and agriculture. One of the subcategories that form part of the so-called “Green Technologies” are the adaptive and mitigating innovations of climate change. In this sense, there are countless patents aimed at a low-carbon future, such as those referring to the electric car or renewable energies.
In addition to the inventions that particularly refer to “Green Technologies”, applicants for new patents or utility models in other fields of technology which are not directly related to these, incorporate additional features or advantages to make a product, device or procedure more environmentally friendly.
Giving support to technology, innovation and IP rights, as well as the promotion of environmental policies to ensure investment in the development of green technologies are key to curbing climate change. For this reason, it is essential that national innovation systems are robust and effective in order to adequately protect technologies, products and services related to the ecology and sustainability of the planet.
Inventions concerning environmental issues are mostly concentrated in developed countries, such as the United States, Germany, Japan or Korea. In recent years, China has been making numerous efforts in this field and is also establishing itself as one of the major green innovation powers.
Another aspect to be discussed is the convenience of creating a European or world bank of open patents to coordinate efforts in R&D in the fight against the climate crisis. Drawing a parallel with the current health crisis, Spain has recently called for a consensus on a Community R&D&I policy to mitigate the current pandemic.
The actions coordinated at a regional and global level to face up to Covid-19 crisis will, in some way, set a precedent for the management of future global challenges, such as climate change. In any case, there’s the need to promote more environmental policies in support of green technologies, as well as to orchestrate a joint innovative effort by companies and other parties involved in order to create a green future.
Article by Diana Marine.