IRENA Roundtable on the Assessment of Intellectual Property Rights for Promoting Renewable Energy

25 December 2012
Bonn, Germany

Innovation is essential for accelerated deployment of renewable energy. A widely deployed model to understand   technology   builds on the concept   of the technology   life cycle.  The life cycle of technologies   can be   divided into   a number   of   steps   from   invention   though   research and development, demonstration, market introduction to diffusion and adaptation. In each stage of the life cycle different promote innovation processes can be discerned and different instruments can be deployed.

One such group of instruments is related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). IPR refers broadly to the  ownership  of  intellectual  findings  in  the  industrial,  scientific,  literary  and  artistic  fields. IPR protect the interests of creators by giving them property rights over their creations.

Patents are part of IPR which intend to protect inventions and are included in the industrial property along with trademarks, industrial designs, and commercial names.

Patents constitute a rich source of state‐of‐the‐art technology information which can provide trends of technology developments when looking the patent data by country where the technology is protected and by inventors, over time.    Such  information  can  help  policymakers’  assessment  on  technology  trends  and  potential options to invest.

To  better  understand  the  functioning  and  the  role  of  patents  in  technology  development  and deployment, IRENA has started an investigation how patents can be used in renewable energy innovation.   As a case study to show the use of patent information, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a patent landscape report was developed on desalination technologies run by renewables.   In addition,  in cooperation  with WIPO and the European  Patent Office (EPO), IRENA has also developed  the concept and prototype  of an information  platform  for renewable  energy technologies  which will enable easy search to available  databases,  and provide information on how to search relevant technologies and use the patent information.