LONDON IBM, Sony, Nokia and Pitney Bowes are working with The World Business Council for Sustainable Development to put environmentally-responsible patents in the public domain.
It is hoped that 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.
Examples of the environmental benefits expected for pledged patents could 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, and increased recycling opportunity.
IBM was recently named by IFI Claims as the leading earner of U.S. patents for the 15th consecutive year. The pledged portfolio, dubbed the 'Eco-Patent Commons', is available on a dedicated, public web site hosted by the WBCSD.
Patents pledged to the Eco-Patent Commons 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.
Membership in the Eco-Patent Commons is open to all individuals and companies pledging one or more patents and 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.
Nokia 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 accroding to Donal O’Connell, director of intellectual Property, at Nokia.