One of these lies in just how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and concepts. A protectionist approach to intellectual property was created to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow innovators to capture the earnings from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also causes it to be harder for new and a lot more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why now there are other approaches being utilized to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has become doing exactly that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the world in 2014 when he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving out its patents for free. It is essential to understand the rationale here. Why would a company who had worked so desperately to develop and protect its technology from its global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away free of charge?
Tesla initially developed Invention Idea its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it would be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their manufacture of electric cars never came to pass. Instead, it saw the electric car market stagnate at less than 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from attempting to prevent others from building electric cars to seeking to encourage them into the market.
Part of the reasoning here is when more electric cars are built, then more battery recharging stations will likely be built too. This might make electric cars become a little more visible, along with a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that the open intellectual property strategy can strengthen instead of diminish its position by building the size of the electric car market, and for that reason, build their own share from the total automotive market.
This sort of careful handling of intellectual property at company level, backed up by policy-level awareness, could be a powerful method to keep the same forms 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 New Invention Ideas is restricted by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events including flooding and costs associated with supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food and to address malnutrition in poor countries.
For these industries to navigate a path around these issues, new knowledge and the innovations that follow will be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property either can be an enabler or perhaps an inhibitor.
When the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented inside an industry, it can decrease technology innovation and uptake, like within the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open up their innovation processes and move away from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property can be used to safeguard and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing which leads to accelerated innovation cycles along with a wksgqs rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives within a sector: just what Tesla was hoping for in electric vehicles.
This method to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature in the software industry and healthcare. It provides given access to life-saving medicines to millions of people, specifically in Inventors Corner through patent pools, such as the Medicine Patent Pool. This type of project relies upon multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their intellectual property, but small companies could also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.