When the Eco-Patent Commons launched, I wrote a post about this initiative to share environmentally-friendly patented technology.Â The Commons is administered by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a Geneva-based organization that promotes sustainability in business.
The Commons started out with 31 patents, most of which were donated by IBM.Â Â The WBCSD hosts a web site with a searchable database of the patents, which are available for anyone to exploit.Â The goal is to allow easy access to environmentally-friendly innovation so it gets into the hands of those best positioned to implement it.
The Commons recently welcomedÂ three new members.Â Last month the Bosch Group (Bosch), which develops, among other things, automotive and industrial technology, joined the Commons, along withÂ XeroxÂ and chemical giant DuPont.Â The three companiesÂ agreed to share 50 patents.
Bosch donated 24 German patents thatÂ relate to automotive technology, including filter devices and methods for reducing emissions, energy efficiency and fuel-saving technology, and a fuel tank that allows a vehicle to use multiple fuels.
The XeroxÂ contribution includes 22 U.S., European, German and Japanese patents that relate to removal of environmental contaminants from water and soil.Â
Some of the donated U.S. patents include U.S. Patent Nos. 5,441,365 (Apparatus and process for treating contaminated soil gases and liquids), 5,197,541 (Apparatus for two phase vacuum extraction of soil contaminants), 5,358,357 (Process and apparatus for high vacuum groundwater extraction) and 5,979,554 (Vacuum application method and apparatus for removing liquid contaminants from groundwater).
DuPont donated four U.S. Patents relating to various chemical processes including a method of breaking down plastics (U.S. Patent No. 7,053,130, entitled “Method to accelerate biodegradation of aliphatic-aromatic co-polyesters by enzymatic treatment”) and a method of detectingÂ contaminantsÂ via a biological test system that gauges environmental stress levels (U.S. Patent No. 5,683,868, entitled “Highly sensitive method for detecting environmental insults”).
It will be interesting to seeÂ which, if any,Â patentsÂ prove valuable and which donated technologies will be useful to whom.Â Â Â There has been at least one suggestion to expand the scope of the Commons to include enabling disclosures.Â We’ll be keeping tabs on the Commons and hoping for some success stories.