Ricoh’s Eco-Patents


My esteemed colleague Mike D. brought a couple of interesting patents to my attention.  U.S. Patent No. 7,353,118, which issued last month, and U.S. Patent No. 7,117,117 are owned by Japanese office equipment maker and document management solutions provider Ricoh Company. 

The patents are directed to a system for assessing a company’s environmental impact and is embodied in what Ricoh calls its Eco Balance and Environmental Impact Evaluation.   The patented system helps companies collect information from all points of a product’s life cycle, including manufacturing points and chemical materials used to make the products, sales and distribution points, end use points, maintenance and collection/recycling of the products.  The system also collects and analyzes data from other facets of a business such as personnel and account information and the company’s environmental conservation activities.   In addition, the system includes a database of environmental laws, regulations and standards.

The system then registers and manages all the collected information in a database and generates reports containing numerical figures that reflect the environmental impact of each area of the business.  Ricoh uses these figures to formulate environmental action plans, which suggest specific areas where improvements can be made in productivity, technological development and energy conservation to minimize a company’s impact on the environment. 

In this age of corporate social responsibility and heightened awareness of sustainable business practices, these could be very valuable patents for Ricoh. 

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.