Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and sustainable businesses!

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.
Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Management > Green Economy

Environmental and Climate Change Patents Put Into PUBLIC DOMAIN

IBM leads development of Eco-Patent Commons to create collection of environmental patents in public domain

Find green business solutions

IBM Leads Public Domain Intitiative

Since the Italian Renaissance, societies have offered their innovators a deal. In return for publicly describing their invention, they are granted a period of exclusivity. This not only encourages innovators, it gets ideas more quickly out into the open, where others can build upon them.

It is an approach that has served society well over the centuries. Yet recently it has become more controversial. Should life-saving drugs be patented? Should life forms? Should a company get private rights for software without revealing the underlying source code? Does the morass of patents and licenses in the field of biotech actually limit progress?

Amid such arguments, IBM has quietly brought forth a new idea: an “eco-patent commons” (EPC), a process to share intellectual property (IP) related to environmental and ecological technology.

Benefits for patent users and our planet

  • The Eco-Patent Commons will provide free access to patents that can be leveraged by others to improve the environmental aspects of their operations.
  • The information will be readily available in one easily accessible place.
  • The Commons will provide an avenue by which those who are facing a challenge that may have environmental impact can connect with those who already have had success in meeting that challenge.

Link to Eco-Patent Commons Info

Patent Search page

california trucking pollution solutions Leading members of the corporate community have come together in a first-of-its-kind effort to help the environment, unleashing dozens of innovative, environmentally responsible patents to the public domain.

Availability of these patents will encourage researchers, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes in any industry to create, apply and further develop their consumer or industrial products, processes and services in a way that will help to protect and respect the environment.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and IBM -- named by IFI Claims as the leading earner of US patents for the 15th consecutive year -- are initiating this effort in partnership with Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony. The pledged portfolio, dubbed the "Eco-Patent Commons", is available on a dedicated, public website hosted by the WBCSD.

Patents pledged to the Eco-Patent Commons -- originally proposed at IBM's Global Innovation Outlook conference -- feature innovations focused on environmental matters and innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environmental benefit.

For example, a company may pledge a patent for a manufacturing process that reduces hazardous waste generation, or energy or water consumption. A pledged patent covering a procurement or logistics solution may reduce fuel consumption.

Examples of the environmental benefits expected for pledged patents include:

  • Energy conservation or improved energy or fuel efficiency
  • Pollution prevention (source reduction, waste reduction)
  • Use of environmentally preferable materials or substances
  • Water or materials use reduction
  • Increased recycling opportunity.

"The Eco-Patent Commons provides a unique and significant leadership opportunity for business to make a difference -- sharing their innovations and solutions in support of sustainable development," said Bjorn Stigson, President of the WBCSD. "The Eco-Patent Commons also provides an opportunity for companies and other entities to identify areas of common interest and establish new relationships that can lead to further development in the patented technologies and elsewhere."

"Innovation to address environmental issues will require both the application of technology as well as new models for sharing intellectual property among companies in different industries," said Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research. "As the leader in US patents for 15 consecutive years, with 3,125 patents issued in 2007, IBM is excited to bring its patent resources to bear in service of the environment.

In addition to enabling new players to engage in protecting the environment, the free exchange of valuable intellectual property will accelerate work on the next level of environmental challenges. We strongly urge other companies to contribute to the Eco-Patent Commons."

Membership in the Eco-Patent Commons is open to all individuals and companies pledging one or more patents. The selection and submission of each organization's patents for pledging is at the organization's discretion. The founding companies and the WBCSD are inviting other interested companies to become members and participate in this initiative promoting innovation and collaboration to help protect the planet.

The Eco-Patent Commons was originally proposed at IBM's Global Innovation Outlook conference, which brings together hundreds of the world's thought leaders from business, politics, academia, and not-for-profits to discuss business and social challenges, demonstrating the power and benefits of open, collaborative innovation models.

Link to Eco-Patent Commons

The member companies of the Eco-Patent Commons today issued the following statements:

Donal O'Connell, Director of Intellectual Property, Nokia, said, "Environmental issues have great potential to help us discover the next wave of innovation because they force us all to think differently about how we make, consume and recycle products. From Nokia we have pledged a patent designed to help companies safely re-use old mobile phones by transforming them into new products like digital cameras, data monitoring devices or other electronic items. Recycling the computing power of mobile phones in this way could significantly increase the reuse of materials in the electronics industry."

Angelo Chaclas, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Technology Law at Pitney Bowes, said, "The Eco-Patent Commons offers an effective framework to develop and make available technology that helps combat climate change and reduce the release of carbon dioxide. Our objective for the Eco-Patent Commons is to promote the spread of environmentally conscious technologies that make conservation and preservation a priority."

Hidemi Tomita, General Manager of Sony Corporation's Corporate Social Responsibility Department, said, "To more effectively protect the environment, it is time for business to join efforts rather than tackling the issue alone. We truly believe this joint effort with our peers will mark a significant step and help transfer innovative ideas and technologies across industries and beyond to developing countries. We are excited to launch this platform to share technologies that will bring about positive changes in the environment."


About IBM

IBM strives to lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies, and translates these technologies into value for its clients through its professional solutions and services businesses. IBM's pledge of patents to the Eco-Patent Commons is consistent with commitments IBM previously has made not to assert intellectual property rights for hundreds of patents involving software interoperability and the open source, healthcare and education communities. It is also consistent with IBM's longstanding commitment to environmental leadership. More information is available at

About Nokia

Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. Nokia makes a wide range of mobile devices and provides people with experiences in music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games and business mobility through these devices. Nokia also provides equipment, solutions and services for communications networks.

About Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes is a mailstream technology company that helps organizations manage the flow of information, mail, documents and packages. Its 35,000 employees deliver technology, service and innovation to more than two million customers worldwide. The company was founded in 1920 and annual revenues now total $5.9 billion. More information is available at

About Sony

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $70 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Sony Global Web Site:

About The World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development brings together some 200 international companies in a shared commitment to sustainable development through economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. Members are drawn from more than 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. The WBCSD also benefits from a global network of about 60 national and regional business councils and partner organizations. Its mission is to provide business leadership as a catalyst for change toward sustainable development, and to support the business license to operate, innovate and grow in a world increasingly shaped by sustainable development issues.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
Green Solution Providers
Green companies directory
your green solutions - business, nonprofit, government program.
It's free.
| innovation | patents | climate change | environmental |

Share in Social Media

Sign Up For News & Information
Subscribe to our free solutions newsletter
"Ten+ Tips for Greening Your Office"

Read prior issues: California GreenLines

Search For Green Solutions

Custom Search
Green Career Center
Green Job Wizard
Career Certifications Directory

green job training certifications
Green Biz Center
Solutions For Green
Directory of Green Companies

Solutions for Alternative Energy

rose in natural systems
Green Living Center
Solutions for Green: Consumers

Solutions for Remodeling

Backyard Nature Center


"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Goethe

Related Articles

Resources for Recycled Content products and materials

“My Air, My Health Challenge” - Innovation awards from EPA

Green Chemistry $2.8 billion market opportunities in 2011

Related Green Resources

Marcom Tips
Interactive & Video Tips

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Green Job Wizard Job and Career Certifications Directory

Job & Career Resources

Sales & Marketing
Human Resources

Green Economy

Business Sectors
Natural Resources

Solutions For Green

About Us ~ Privacy Policy
Contact Us ~ Home

Text Link Ads

AD: Place your link here


We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. California Green Solutions focuses attention on effective solutions that sustain our natural systems. You can support our editorial work by supporting our advertisers and spreading the word about best practices and green solutions.
California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Job Certifications | Alternative Energy | Events | Green Directory | LED Lights | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing | Networking Events | Japan |