May 13 2024 0Comment

The Impact of IP Laws on Sustainable Development Goals


Originally posted by AIPPI newsletter.

Our planet faces a multitude of environmental challenges, from climate change to pollution. To address these issues, green innovation is taking center stage. This refers to the development of new technologies, processes, and materials that minimize environmental impact. Green innovation encompasses a wide range of fields, including renewable energy sources, sustainable materials, energy-efficient technologies, and pollution control methods.

Intellectual Property (IP) rights, particularly patents, play a crucial role in encouraging these green innovations. Patents grant gives inventors temporary exclusive rights to their inventions, allowing them to control who can use, make, or sell their creation.

However, patent protection does come with a cost of certain hindrances such as expensive process of filing and enforcing patents that reduces the participation from smaller companies or independent researchers with limited resources; and absence of unilateral patent law implemented globally which results in creating complexities in deploying green technologies globally, potentially hindering widespread adoption.

Finding the right balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring accessibility is crucial. Let’s delve deeper into how patent laws can both promote and hinder the development of green technologies.

How is green innovation more promising with patent protection?

Patents act as a powerful tool for fostering green innovation by offering inventors a three-pronged benefit: exclusivity, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Let’s explore how each aspect encourages investment and commercialization of environmentally friendly technologies.

Patents grant inventors temporary exclusive rights to their green creations. This means competitors cannot make, use, sell, or import the patented technology for a set period (usually 20 years) without permission. This exclusivity acts as a shield, protecting the inventor’s work and creating the potential for significant financial rewards.

Companies and investors are more likely to back green technology projects with the assurance of exclusivity. Patents offer a period where the inventor can reap the benefits of their hard work, generating revenue to recoup investment and potentially fund further development.
With exclusive rights, companies can capitalize on the invention by manufacturing and selling products incorporating green technology. This allows them to establish a foothold in the market and potentially achieve a competitive edge.

Patents can act as a bridge for collaboration between companies. Licensing agreements allow entities with complementary technologies to share their innovations. This enables faster development and wider deployment of green solutions.

Companies can license their patented green technology to others in exchange for royalties or fees. This allows them to recoup investment costs and potentially generate additional revenue streams. The licensee, on the other hand, gains access to valuable technology, accelerating their own product development and market entry.

What are the patenting backlogs that affects the green technology in India?

The crux of the issue lies in the unequal nature of our current patent systems, which disproportionately favour IPR-based enterprises. This bias, reinforced by stronger patent enforcement, hampers sustainable development. While existing patent systems have made strides in recognising the potential of ecologically viable technological advancements, many developing nations, such as Yemen and Trinidad and Tobago, are still grappling with the high costs of research and development and a lack of infrastructure, hindering their access to green technology in the modern world.

For developing nations, the path to financial progress must be paved first. Only after achieving a certain level of business expansion can they effectively prioritise social causes. The significance of growth in the financial sector cannot be overstated.

Financial growth is significant and cannot be understated. Conversely, developed economies can concentrate their efforts on developing environmentally friendly technologies. This is a result of their having passed a specific socioeconomic development threshold. Since the development of green technologies is multifaceted and involves cutting-edge innovation and other specialities, those responsible for these technologies would support vigorous protection. The product will not be widely available to developing nations due to long-term precautions. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure environmental and ecological development coexist.

If green technology is to be a practical solution to global issues like climate change, it must be universally accessible. The scenario of developed economies utilising environmentally friendly technology while less developed ones are left behind is counterproductive to the overarching goal of green technology. In fact, the exclusivity granted by a patent serves as a strong incentive for production. If green technology is not widely available, the motivation to use it will be significantly diminished.


Technological advancement is essential in today’s world. The advancement of science and sustainable development, however, are more critical. Technical advancement can be focused on green technology or technology that prioritises a State’s economic growth without endangering the sustainability of the environment and actively promotes environmental conservation within the framework of green technology. Due to their ability to safeguard both ecological development and inventor’s rights, patents can be used to accomplish a strange but practical synthesis between environmental sustainability and commercial growth. Ecosystem preservation and achieving ecological sustainability are two goals that can be fulfilled through green technology patenting.

In the modern world, IPR can contribute to the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon market, thereby helping to create a green future. This goal can be achieved with the assistance of numerous governmental organisations, investors, and partners from multiple States focusing on improving green technology. A skilled green innovator may benefit from applying several intellectual property models at various stages of the innovative process, including research and development, monetisation, market entry, and international diffusion of renewable technology. The rate at which non-renewable resources are being exhausted is startling. Consequently, a move towards renewable initiatives, new international environmental laws, and stricter IP rights enforcement in this domain are needed.

To create an incentive for Indian inventors to pursue green technology and achieve its goal of becoming a significant player in the field, the government must provide comparable benefits to them. The cost associated with certification and processing has been identified as a roadblock to adopting green technologies. Due to the hefty processing fees related to the technology, most technological exchanges fail. As a result, the State must offer tax breaks and straightforward financing options. By building an infrastructure that links patent holders with businesses and offering suitable incentives to technology holders to disclose their technology and trade secrets for its operation, barriers to technology exchange can also be diminished.


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