Rebeca Nieto & Robert Pocklington
IP Experts – Latin America IP SME Helpdesk
Since its establishment by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) two decades ago, IP Day has been celebrated worldwide every 26th of April.
IP Day is not only a perfect excuse for the Latin America IP SME Helpdesk team to organise a gathering of fellow professionals, but it is also an ideal occasion to show the benefits and real impact of intellectual property in our daily lives!
Each year since 2000, WIPO selects a new message or theme to coordinate the World IP Day map of events around the globe under the same topic.
Following the trend of the pioneering industry and businesses towards sustainable and climate-neutral solutions, the theme proposed by WIPO this year is green innovation and sustainable technology.
Behind the motto “Innovate for a Green Future”, WIPO’s partners and IP-related institutions worldwide take the chance to raise awareness on the impact of patents, trade marks, industrial designs and copyright in our everyday life, and this year in particular, in the development of green and sustainable technologies. In this sense, the Latin America IP SME Helpdesk team wants to emphasise that this is not only a day for celebration but also for recognition to all the creators and inventive minds that shape our lives and improve them.
Green Future: The time has arrived
Not only do we have Greta Thunberg today leading the voice on climate change, but also a large number of institutions and organisations that are focusing on this issue more seriously than ever before and they are putting the words into action.
As previously pointed out, the importance of green innovation and sustainable technology comes from the world’s interest in this topic as well as the growing concern about global warming. To quote WIPO, “across the world, recognition of the need to act to preserve the environment is growing. People, businesses and governments are starting to take action to tackle climate change”.
Without going too far, let’s see the example of the European Union: Even when sustainable development has been one of the fundamental objectives of the EU for long, we have never been that committed to turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities until now. In the framework of the European Green Deal, the EU has recently released a communication regarding the New Industrial Strategy for Europe stressing the importance of IP in the EU and announcing that it will be tackled by an “Intellectual Property Action Plan to assess the need to upgrade the legal framework, ensure a smart use of IP and fight better against IP theft”.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), it seems that we are already doing a great job by expanding the adoption of renewable energies. In this sense, it can be pointed out that the three quarters of the new capacity in energy came from worldwide renewable energy in 2019 alone. With regards to the region of South America, 80% of these new renewable energy capacities came from hydropower (80%), followed by wind energy (9.3%) and bioenergy (7.7%).
Intellectual Property Rights to the rescue, and the other way around
It goes without saying that Intellectual Property plays a significant role in the Green Future.
The first thing that comes to mind with the term Green Future are patents. The green future is built upon the pillars of new technologies and this is reflected on the number of patent registrations in this field. Just in Chile, 3% of all patent applications at INAPI come from the environmental technology field every year.
Are you an EU SME interested in protecting your green technology inventions through patent protection in Latin America? Are you finding difficulties to refine your searches when making use of online patent search tools? Then, have a look at the WIPO’s IPC Green Inventory. Under this inventory, the classes from nearly every important technical field related to Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) have been selected from both PATENTSCOPE and IPC to facilitate future searches in this field.
But, what else should an EU SME take into account? Once you have your inventions protected, you may also think of protecting the name of your company or your products by applying at your national IP office or the EUIPO to get your trade mark protected in all EU countries. An example of this would be how Greta Thunberg registered her name and the movement she founded (“Fridays for Future”) to protect them and to prevent third parties from taking individual or commercial advantage from them.
Other means of Intellectual Property related to this field are industrial designs, which are used to protect the external appearance of a product and trade secrets, in case you wish to protect the confidential business information that offers you a competitive advantage by not disclosing it to the public.
WIPO Green New Acceleration Project in Latin America
If you are an EU SME that owns sustainable technology or you are willing to explore eco-friendly technology solutions for your business in Latin America, you may find very interesting to check WIPO’s Marketplace for Sustainable Technology, known as WIPO Green. This online platform brings together tech providers and tech seekers to catalyse green technology innovation and dissemination.
Moreover, WIPO Green launches a new Acceleration Project every year, focusing right now on smart climate agriculture in Latin America. This initiative provides potential green opportunities: 1) intensified crop rotation, soil re-carbonisation and carbon sequestration, no-till and forest management in Argentina; 2) zero-till or conservation agriculture in Brazil and 3) wine production in Chile.
Learn more about IP in Green Technologies
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