To drive sustainability transitions on a global scale for a carbon neutral future, green innovations are needed. In this study, we are keen to understand the role of intellectual property (IP) and particularly, its usage by firms innovating for a sustainable future. Unfortunately, little is known about how IP impacts sustainability transitions. To contribute to a better understanding, we chose to investigate IP usage by award – winning green innovators. We study the winners of the European Inventor Award, a highly prestigious international prize, awarded annually by the European Patent Office since 2006. Among all 210 awardees, we identified 52 winners that we classified as green innovators. Our analysis shows that closed and semi-open IP, particularly non-exclusive licensing, are the preferred IP strategies for green innovations. The IP strategy preferences seem to vary across technology domains. These findings are discussed along with their implications.
We are excited that our proposal was selected to receive funding from the Belmont Forum, a pan-international social science research body. The project focuses on studying how IP models can help to accelerate sustainability transitions, particularly analysing sustainable business models for clean energy and the circular economy.
Starting in October, the IPACST project will run for three years. Project partners include:
Total projects funds are about 1m€. UK funds for the project come from the Global Challenges Research Funds, respectively the ESRC. The project is among 12 selected consortia projects out of 155 eligible proposals.
We will soon be looking to recruit a postdoc, preferably with research expertise in IP and licensing, but also sustainable innovation and the circular economy.