Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Intellectual property and climate change

Anglo-American publishing house Edward Elgar Publishing has just produced another book in its Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series. It's titled Intellectual Property and Climate Change and it's edited by a distinguished US academic, Professor Joshua D. Sarnoff (Professor of Law, DePaul University, College of Law).

Given the importance of the subject matter and the fact that intellectual property is both blamed for climate change and entrusted with the solution of its many issues, readers may be surprised at the relative dearth of collections of writings on the relation between the two.  The aim of the editor in compiling this volume is well summarised by the book's web-blurb:
This innovative research tool presents insights from a global group of leading intellectual property, environment, trade, and industrial scholars on the emerging and controversial topic of intellectual property and climate change. It provides a unique review of the scientific background, international treaties, and political context of climate change; identifies critical conflicts and differences of approach; and describes the relevant intellectual property law doctrines and policy options for regulating, developing, or disseminating needed technologies, activities, and business practices.

Written by a global group of leading scholars, this wide-ranging Research Handbook provides insightful analysis, useful historical perspective, and a point of reference on the controversial nexus of climate change law and policy, intellectual property law and policy, innovation policy, technology transfer, and trade.

The contributors provide a unique review of the scientific background, international treaties, and political and institutional contexts of climate change and intellectual property law. They further identify critical conflicts and differences of approach between developed and developing countries. Finally they put forward and analyse the relevant intellectual property law doctrines and policy options for funding, developing, disseminating, and regulating the required technologies and their associated activities and business practices.

The book will serve as a resource and reference tool for scholars, policymakers and practitioners looking to understand the issues at the interface of intellectual property and climate change.
Nearly 30 contributors offer their thoughts, covering many disciplines -- but it would have been good if the scholarship was augmented by some contributions from public and private sector businesses that are believed to contribute to climate change and those that are seeking to redress it.  Given that some of the world's patent offices are pursuing 'green patent' policies and fast-tracking of patents for environmentally friendly inventions, some evaluation of these policies would be good. In truth, though, it is probably far too early to be able to measure their impact, whether on the environment and climate change or whether on the minds of innovators and investors.

Regular readers of this weblog will have an idea of the comment that we are about to make: there is no specific reference to the role of IP analytics in pinpointing trends and measuring patenting activity in climate-sensitive fields of activity.  This is unsurprising, given that developments in IP analytics are so recent and fast-moving, but it is hoped that a second edition of this work will be able to reap its benefit.

You can obtain further details of this book from the publisher here.

No comments:

Post a Comment