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Renewing the focus on renewable energy


30th Jul 2015

A new website has recently launched to assist innovators in the renewable energy field. Earlier this month, the European Patent Office (EPO) collaborated in the launch of the International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy (INSPIRE) website with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

It is hoped that by increasing the knowledge and accessibility of patent information that innovating parties can easily determine which other innovators are active in inventing relevant technologies and the technology trends. This in turn should therefore assist innovators in focusing their own efforts and identifying suitable candidates for joint ventures or other collaborations. This approach was specifically identified by respondents as preferable (in comparison to the use of patent pools or cross-licensing) in the most recent EPO report on clean energy.

A significant amount of easily accessible information is available within the patents section of the INSPIRE website covering topics such as:

  • the important role of patents in renewable energy technology innovation;
  • an overview of the patent granting process and a review of the patenting activity; and innovation in the areas of desalination technologies and
  • the use of renewable energies.

The website also explains the EPO’s Y02 patent classification and how this can be used to access consolidated information on over two million patents relating to carbon mitigating technologies. The Y02 classification was initially introduced by the EPO a few years ago and has since been developed in order to provide a complementary tagging scheme for indexing patents and patent applications that are relevant to the mitigation of or adaptation against climate change. The Y02 classification can therefore be used to simplify the search for such patents or patent applications, whose standard indexing would otherwise be spread across a wide variety of classifications.

The importance of technical standards in ensuring the safety and reliability of renewable energy technologies and, in turn, in enhancing the investment in these technology areas is a topic also featured on the website, providing innovators with a one-stop shop of intellectual property guidance tailored to the renewable energy market. Furthermore, the amalgamation of all these resources provides an extra tool for policy makers to review the effectiveness of current policies for promoting renewable energy innovation as well as to determine fertile areas for further policy making.

All in all, it is positive to see the EPO continuing to promote the technology transfer of renewable energy technologies for combating climate change and doing its bit to facilitate the ease of access to up-to-date information on such technologies and their inventors. Here’s to a green future!

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.

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