One of these lies in just how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist method of Tech is designed to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow innovators to capture the profits from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also makes it tougher for new and more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why there are now other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has become doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the world in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving out its patents free of charge. You should comprehend the rationale here. Why would a company which had worked so hard to build up and protect its technology looking at the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away at no cost?

Tesla initially created a patent portfolio to guard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it will be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their production of electric cars never arrived at pass. Instead, it saw the electric car market stagnate at under 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from seeking to prevent others from building electric cars to trying to encourage them to the market.

Part of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are made, then more battery recharging stations will be built too. This could make electric cars be a little more visible, along with a more conventional choice. Tesla believes an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen as opposed to diminish its position because they build the dimensions of the electrical car market, and as a result, build its own share from the total automotive market.

This kind of careful handling of How To Prototype An Invention at company level, backed up by policy-level awareness, can be considered a powerful method to support the same types of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.

Energy supply faces a multitude of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. The water supply sector is restricted by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events such as flooding and expenses related to supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food and also to address malnutrition in poor countries.

For such industries to navigate a path around these complications, new knowledge and also the innovations that follow will be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or an inhibitor.

In the event the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented in an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, including inside the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead start their innovation processes and depart from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is utilized to briaac and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles along with a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was hoping for in electric vehicles.

This strategy to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature in the software industry and healthcare. It offers given use of life-saving medicines to huge numbers of people, particularly in developing countries through patent pools, such as the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies upon multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Can I Patent An Idea, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.

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