Q2 2009 Sees Record No. of U.S. Green Patents; EPO and UN Study Green Patent Licensing

There’s some catching up to do on green patent developments.  First, the 2009 second quarter report of the Heslin Rothenberg firm’s Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) came out last month.  CEPGI tracks clean tech patent filings in the U.S.

According to CEPGI, 274 clean tech patents were granted in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2009 – the highest quarterly total ever. 

Fuel cell patents led the pack with 156 granted patents, followed by wind power technology (43) and solar (36).  All of those categories saw increases from the first quarter of 2009.

Although hybrid/electric vehicle patents fell from 30 in the first quarter to 20 in the second quarter, automotive companies still obtained the most clean tech patents.  Honda led with 17, GM had 15 and Toyota 12.

What happens to all of these green patents after they are granted?  The European Patent Office (EPO), along with the U.N. Environment Programme and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, is trying to find out.

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To better understand the role of patents in transfer of and access to clean technologies, the EPO is conducting a survey on licensing practices in the area of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs).  ESTs are defined as:

technologies that protect the environment, are less polluting, use resources in a more sustainable manner, recycle more of their waste and products, or handle residual waste in a more acceptable manner than the technologies they substitute

The survey was launched in early August and information collection is set to close on September 25th.

The EPO hopes the results and findings of the study will provide guidance for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, where IP rights and transfer of clean technologies is likely to be a hotly contested topic.

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.