April 24, 2020

World IP Day: Creating a green-tech innovation surge?

World IP Day 2020

"Climate change has far-reaching effects for all of us and innovation in green tech sectors will be key to successfully addressing this global challenge."
Francis Gurry, Director General WIPO

Going green

Last year has seen an ever increasing focus on climate change and the steps being taken to tackle it. In June, the UK became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law, committing it to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This is an ambitious target and will require the adoption of a range of new technologies to make it achievable.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has long championed the development of green technologies to address global environmental challenges. However, figures released for World IP Day 2020 show that innovation in environmentally friendly technologies (as measured by international patent applications) has seen stagnated growth over the last year. This has led to a call to "create a green-tech innovation surge" by the WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry.

Protecting your ideas

Strongly protected IP is a driver for enabling partnerships and new ventures which can commercialise innovative technology for the greater good.

Patents protection is only one piece of the puzzle. Many innovations will be app-based or rely on ideas and technologies that are not patentable. Ensuring your ideas are protected at all stages of the development curve is key to ensuring you have a product that you own, can scale, and can fully exploit.

Other registrable IP rights such as trade marks can be key to protecting your brand. Consumers are increasingly aligning themselves with environmentally friendly brands, and consider this an important part of their decision making. A recent report suggests 74% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, for instance.

Whether it is reducing single use plastic, developing electric power, or building apps to monitor carbon footprints, businesses that can adapt and develop their products and services to tackle new and existing problems in an environmentally sustainable are well placed for success in the long run. With many businesses using the current economic conditions and pressures as an opportunity to reassess strategic and direction, now is an opportune moment to consider how green your future looks and how well your ideas and brand are protected.

About our Commercial & Technology team

We support a range of businesses with creating and protecting new brands and product concepts. Our commercial and technology lawyers work to ensure early stage ideas are properly protected – from initial discussions under an NDA through to collaboration agreements and arrangements with third party suppliers and users.

Our work involves supporting academics, entrepreneurs, founders and management teams on venture capital investment and equity fundraising transactions, from start-up to large institutional syndicated investments. We are proud to support the commercialisation of world-class ideas from the University of Oxford.

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