The increasing interest in recent years in energy efficiency and sustainability has generated a wealth of new innovations.  Whether it is improved systems for generating energy from wind or water, new biofuels, or methods for increasing energy production from conventional fossil fuels, such innovations require expenditure of considerable research and development money.  Failure to take measures to protect those innovations leave a company’s treasures open for others to use.  While some feel that no protection should be granted on methods and devices that are designed to heal our Earth, the law was developed to encourage companies to invest in research.  As it is, a large number of companies have already sought Intellectual Property protection for the advances they have conceived.  Automotive companies have been protecting hybrid and hydrogen developments for many years.  Other fields, such as solar power and wind generation, have seen a recent increase in patent applications on new developments.

Navigating through these developments is becoming more and more complex as companies seek not only to protect devices that they have brought to market, but also improved concepts and advanced stages of research.  Many companies blindly spend vast sums of money researching advances in a particular field, only to find out that another company has placed an Intellectual Property obstacle that inhibits bringing the advanced technology to market.  Recent cases, including those from the Supreme Court have significant impact on how and whether new technology can be protected.

Robert's paper explains why patenting of green technology is beneficial to our society and some important things that companies involved in sustainability and energy advances need to know to protect themselves in this new green tinted world.
Source: Proceedings of ES2008 Energy Sustainability, American Society of Mechanical Engineers