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The World Intellectual Property Office’s green fingers: WIPO Green

12th Dec 2013

The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) has recently launched a new initiative to encourage the development of environmentally sustainable solutions addressing climate change. The initiative is called WIPO Green and it is an online market place seeking to connect parties who have technology solutions to environmental, climate or sustainable problems with parties seeking solutions to specific problems.

There are two aspects to the initiative, the WIPO GREEN Database and the WIPO Green Network. The database allows parties to search for green technology products, services and intellectual property assets, as well as post announcements of needs. The network is intended to foster commercial relationships between green technology providers and seekers, by making contact information and other resources available.

The Database

The database provides a repository of available green technologies. These are defined as technologies that “protect the environment, are less polluting, use all resources in a more sustainable manner, recycle more of their wastes and products, and handle residual wastes in a more acceptable manner than the technologies for which they [are] substitutes” (Chapter 34, Agenda 21 of the United Nations Programme of Action from Rio, 1992).

The notes to the initiative state that the database is a “matchmaking platform designed to accelerate the development and dissemination of environmentally sound technologies to address environmental challenge”. Like most matchmaking sites, users need to register to have full access to the information available in the database, to submit information of their own, and to be able to contact other users.

Technology providers can use the site to advertise green technologies that are available for purchase or license, with a view to allowing development, use and manufacture of products or services. Transfer and sale of technology is then governed by individually-negotiated agreements. WIPO makes it clear that it does not make any warranty for the conclusion of agreements, or the success of the technology transfer.

The Resources

A number of different sources of information are available via the site, including case studies and reports into specific sectors of technology. These are assisted by WIPO’s green patent classification index (the IPC Green Inventory). The top page also provides links to dedicated ‘Sources of Funding’ and ‘Intellectual Property Services’ pages . The Sources of Funding page provides links to external organisations who either make financing available, or who assist parties with funding applications, while the Intellectual Property page contains links to sources of patent, trade mark, and design information made available by WIPO, such as the PATENTSCOPE, ROMARIN and HAGUE EXPRESS databases. These reference materials are already available on WIPO’s database but are now additionally linked to under the new web portal.

The WIPO Green database is an interesting step forward in the application of technology to climate change. While many patent offices seek to support innovation in the green or clean tech areas by allowing accelerated examination of patent applications relating to green technologies, most do not have the resources to develop a database and marketplace web service of this scale. Further, as WIPO is an organisation that is international in scope, it is possible that the benefits of the service will be more easily delivered to investors and developers where ever they are in the world.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking before any action in reliance on it.

Nick Reeve
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Would you like to know more? You can talk to Nick Reeve who will be able to help. Call +44 (0)20 7242 0901


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