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