Well, as we all know, innovation and research and development usually cost a lot of money, and the simplest incentive for innovations is often to earn more, or alternatively to save, money.
Facing the threat of global warming, i.e. climate change, many new ideas have developed to make us less dependent on fossil fuels, to provide more efficient re-cycling of materials etc.. The development of electrical vehicles and fuel cell cars, as well as the collection of food waste for producing biogas are all good examples of this.
Environmental goals, set out by governments all around the world, are also believed to be a driving force for many companies in being more innovative within the clean tech sector. In Sweden, for instance some municipalities have a goal to become carbon dioxide neutral by 2025. For certain technology sectors stricter environmental goals have been vital for innovations; one example is the pulp and paper industry; which has meet very tough environmental regulations by becoming increasingly innovative.
One way of looking at the climate challenge for many companies is through the question “how much would it cost us to not change”, but it could of course be equally important to ask the question “how much could we earn by changing and becoming more innovative”.
The Nordic countries have for a long time been innovative and successful in creating strong industries. Now these industries face the challenge of climate change, and the fact that in the development countries the technical development is going faster right now, than it is in the industrial world. One example is China, which has encouraged innovation, and also patenting over the past decade. One way of keeping track of the technical developments in your own field is of course through monitoring of published patent applications, which is an excellent way of finding out what is going on, and an excellent way of getting new ideas of your own, and to get into the forefront of technology development.
Clean tech companies will also inevitably develop technologies that can be used by other companies, and this should of course be an incentive to protect the innovations made, for instance trough filing patent applications, for instance for use in licensing and joint ventures.
This brings us back to the main question, is it possible to save the world and still be profitable?
My answer is yes!
The fact is, if you are an innovative clean tech company, you should tell the world, and not be afraid to actively use this in your branding, in your marketing and in your business relationships with partners and competitors. By using IPR as a tool, you can also easily find and work with investors, find joint ventures, and partners, and thereby grow your company and become more profitable.
Sofia Willquist, European Patent Attorney