Faster patent processing fuels growth of green tech

25 February 2013

Press Release

For immediate release, 25 February 2013

Faster patent processing fuels growth of green tech

New study finds that faster patent examination supports growth of clean tech industry

GENEVA – Programmes to fast-track green patent applications accelerate the diffusion of green technologies, a new study finds.

Since 2009, a number of countries – including Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States – have put in place these programmes with the aim of accelerating the development and diffusion of environmentally-friendly technologies. Most recently, China and Brazil have also adopted such measures.

This study – published by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva – is the first empirical analysis of green patent fast-tracking procedures, which allow applications to be examined and granted at a faster pace than regular patent applications.

“There is a clear demand for fast track programmes particularly from small start-up companies in the green technology sector,” says study author Antoine Dechezleprêtre of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. A granted patent may help these companies raise private capital and start generate revenue from licenses.

Data from the study shows that green fast-tracking programmes can reduce the time from application to the grant of a patent by 42-75 percent.

Climate change-related technologies – particularly renewable energy technologies – represent the vast majority of patents in the fast-tracking programmes, the study finds. The main technologies requesting accelerated examination are wind power in the US and carbon capture and storage in Australia and Canada.

Finally, another important finding is that fast-track patents are of significantly higher commercial value and thus may be the subject of greater interest from potential business partners than other green patents. Because fast-tracked patents are published sooner, the programmes accelerate the diffusion of clean technological knowledge, as evidenced by the number of times fast-track patents are cited by subsequent inventors.

The study is available here

Media Contact:
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Notes to editors:
1. The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) is a nonpartisan think tank, based in Geneva, which - by empowering stakeholders in trade policy through information, networking, dialogue, well targeted research, and capacity building - seeks to influence the international trade system such that it advances the goal of sustainable development.