Thursday, January 24, 2008

Free Patents

And when I say free patents, I do not mean patent-leather shoes or accessories (though wouldn’t that be nice?). I recently learned from the fostering sustainable behavior listserv that IBM, Sony, Nokia & Pitney Bowes have partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to introduce Eco-Patent Commons.

This service will offer the rights to eco-friendly technologies for free, using a service similar to Creative Commons. These services play to the idea that innovation occurs more quickly when more people have access to troubleshooting and improving. Some other places you can see this principle at work are Wikipedia or the open source computer operating system Linux.

Patents include those that address eco-friendly business practices, such as procurement, and those that address sustainable manufacturing processes. Already the aforementioned companies have donated 31 patents to the public domain. Some of those patents include:
  • A shock-absorbing cardboard tray that would replace the need for Styrofoam peanuts
  • A way to recycle cell phones into new devices
  • Use of a natural coagulant to purify wastewater

Check out some articles on this great idea:


Kevin said...

I am a huge fan of "open" communities, such as Linux. I am completely for the ability to develop ideas as a community, and not a company. I know this goes against some entrepreneurial mindsets (earn a dollar by selling what you know) -- but i feel it's the best way to make quick progress.

Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) said...

I can't think of a better model for innovation. Great find!

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