Green Patents That are Free to All: Eco-Patent Commons

WBSCD, free license to publish.)Some ideas for greening the planet are so-spot on yet so ground-breaking, they make you say, “Of course! Why didn’t anybody think of that sooner?”

That pretty much sums up my reaction upon discovering Eco-Patent Commons.

Launched at the beginning of 2008, Eco-Patent Commons makes available royalty-free, patented technologies for reducing pollution and waste, curbing greenhouse gases and meeting demand for clean, renewable energy. It’s the green-invention equivalent of Wikipedia.

Introduced and hosted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Eco-Patent Commons started out with patents from IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony. And, just this week, three more companies — DuPont, Xerox and Bosch — announced they were joining the effort. 

“Innovation to address environmental issues will require both the application of technology as well as new models for sharing intellectual property among companies in different industries,” said John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research. “In addition to enabling new players to engage in protecting the environment, the free exchange of valuable intellectual property will accelerate work on the next level of environmental challenges.”

Among the patents available so far are a Sony method for recycling optical disks, a Xerox method for cleaning up contaminants and a DuPont technique for breaking down non-recyclable plastics.

You can learn more about Eco-Patent Commons and browse the available technologies at the WBCSD’s Website.

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