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One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and concepts. A protectionist approach to Invention Help Companies was created to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and permit innovators to capture the earnings from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also makes it more difficult for new and more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why nowadays there are other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has become doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the planet in 2014 when he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and giving out its patents free of charge. It is essential to understand the rationale here. Why would a company which had worked so hard to develop and protect its technology from the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away at no cost?

Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to guard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it would be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their production of electric cars never came to pass. Instead, it saw the electric car market stagnate at less than 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from trying to prevent others from building electric cars to attempting to encourage them in to the market.

Part of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are made, then more battery recharging stations will likely be built too. This could make electric cars become a little more visible, as well as a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen as opposed to diminish its position by building the size of the electric car market, and for that reason, build its very own share in the total automotive market.

This kind of careful management of Inventhelp New Products at company level, maintained by policy-level awareness, can become a powerful way to support the same types of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.

Energy supply faces a multitude of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. The water supply sector is fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events such as flooding and costs associated with supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food as well as address malnutrition in poor countries.

For such industries to navigate a path around these issues, new knowledge and the innovations that follow will likely be essential. And then in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or perhaps an inhibitor.

If the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented inside an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, such as inside the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open their innovation processes and move away from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property can be used to briaac and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles as well as a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was hoping for in electric vehicles.

This method to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature inside the software industry and healthcare. It provides given use of life-saving medicines to thousands of people, especially in developing countries through patent pools, including the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies upon multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their I Have An Invention Where Do I Start, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.