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Green tech fuelled by fast-track patents

09/04/2013

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United Kingdom

A recent study has found that programmes which fast-track green patents are accelerating the growth of clean technology.

By Hannah Smith-Willis

A recent study has found that programmes which fast-track green patents are accelerating the growth of clean technology.

Background

In line with UN plans to accelerate the diffusion of green technologies, several countries, including Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, have now launched fast-track patent schemes with the aim of encouraging the diffusion of green technology.

A new study has been carried out by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva, aiming to conduct an in-depth analysis on the effects of the faster paced application.

The study

The research showed that fast-track applications are fuelling the diffusion of these green technologies by reducing the time from application to grant between 42% and 75%. The UK saw the best improvement. 

The study represents the first empirical analysis of these fast-track procedures and shows that applicants are able to licence their technologies sooner, reach the market more quickly and capitalise on the higher commercial value of patents going through the fast-track programme.  The timely publishing of fast-track patents has also been shown to increase the spread of clean-tech knowledge, as evidenced by the number of citations by subsequent inventors.

The US has seen its main requests come from wind power whilst carbon capture and storage based applications dominate in Australia and China.

Comment

Promoting green technologies and sustainable development is a growing issue for policymakers.  One of the key goals in this area has been to try and reduce waiting times for the prosecution of patents which focus on green-tech and the effects of the fast-track programmes appear encouraging. This may be a particular boon for small but fast growing start-ups, as patents granted to these companies can often be leveraged to raise finance through venture capital..

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