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.
New paper published with Jan Sternkopf from Kiel University, Elisabeth Eppinger from Freie Universität Berlin and Pratheeba Vimalnath (Subramanian) from Indian Institute of Science on how firms employ IP strategies and particularly Open IP strategies to enable transitions towards a more sustainable society, including cases from Tesla and Nutriset. The paper is available in our CTM Working Paper series.
This is a great video summarizing in less than 25min her excellent book on Biomimicry illustrating twelve design principles that we can learn from life in order to make our economy and the products we create sustainable, thus ensuring the world remains a good place to life for future generations.
This short video explains very well the possibilities of business models that are not based on ownership transactions. What happens to society when firms retain ownership and rather sell their products as a service? It also means democratizing consumers, who really then become users. Watch here.
An absolute interesting project to follow. The SPREE Project ist funded by FP7 and will run for three years. A highly experienced group of reseachers, supported by senior experts study the effects of servitization on the environment and resource utilization with the ultimate goal to understand if and to what extent servitization can contribute to absolute decoupling. I am looking forward seeing the results.
Also you might want to have a look at this short video, which the project produced.