Shedding Light on Green Patents: EPO and UKIPO Launch Clean Tech Patent Databases

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In attempts to ease the burden of obtaining information on green patents, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) each recently unveiled a clean technology patent database.

According to this article in Nature, the EPO’s database is set to launch this month through the espacenet web site (http://ep.espacenet.com/).  I recently checked espacenet but was unable to find a separate green patent database.

However, this post from the Patent Librarian blog discusses the EPO’s new classification scheme for green technologies, which includes a new category, identified as “Y02” in their classification system.  The scheme further includes the following two subclasses, along with further subgroups:

Y02C – Capture, Storage, Sequestration or Disposal of Greenhouse Gases

Y02E – Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission, Related to Energy Generation, Transmission or Distribution

I took the system for a quick, preliminary test ride by going to the Advanced Search page here and plugging in “Y02” in the European Classification box.  I got roughly 68,500 hits.

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This press release discusses the UKIPO’s green patent database, which appears to be much more limited than the EPO tool.  Apparently, the UKIPO database (which can be found here) contains only those patent applications processed under the UKIPO’s “Green Channel” fast tracking program for clean tech inventions.

One hope with these initiatives is that they will facilitate transfer of green technologies, making it easier for green patent owners and prospective licensees to hook up.

Another is that the increased transparency regarding owners of green patents will aid negotiations in the international climate change treaty talks. 

In any event, more green patent information can only help green tech innovators and implementers.

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.