Part I:Â Guangzhou, China
Cleantech innovation continues apace, despite the general economic malaise gripping â€Žmuch of the world. Two countries that are heavily invested in renewable energy â€Ždevelopment are China and Israel.
Despite their extreme differences in population, â€Žsize, and access to natural resources, these two countries have forced their way onto â€Žthe global Cleantech innovation stage. Not surprisingly, and as previously noted by â€Žthis blog, both countries have instituted expedited green patent programs, amongst â€Žother policy initiatives aimed at fostering Cleantech innovation. â€Ž
Both countries recently hosted Cleantech conferences, where I was privileged to speak â€Žon “Green” intellectual property issues, and advocate for increased awareness of those â€Žissues on the part of the Cleantech business community.Â Â
The first conference I attended wasÂ BIT’s 2nd New Energy ForumÂ in Guangzhou, China, in mid-October.Â One is â€Žimmediately struck by the tremendous economic vitality exhibited in Guangzhou, with â€Žnumerous ongoing construction projects neighboring a like number of recently â€Žcompleted facilities.
With such rapid development on display, there clearly is a market â€Žfor sustainable products to use in construction in China. And at the conference itself, â€Žnumerous personalities from the academic and business worlds discussed the â€Žimportance of an engaged China in advancing the development and utilization of â€Žsustainable products and services. â€Ž
Considering the number of attendees that I spoke to who were there on behalf of â€Žvarious departments of the Chinese national and provincial government industries, it is â€Žfair to assume that developing a viable Cleantech sector is an important initiative for â€ŽChina.
And I noticed an increasing awareness among conference attendees of the â€Žimportance of intellectual property rights in fostering innovation, and for allowing â€ŽChina to continue to compete globally. Even Chinese manufacturers are become â€Žincreasingly aware of the need to provide a safe home for foreign know-how, so that â€Žinnovative Cleantech companies will look to China as a manufacturing partner for their â€Žproducts. â€Ž
Of course, many in China are sensitive to the reputation of their countryÂ in the global business â€Žcommunity.
Some officials I talked to were very invested in the ongoing trade dispute â€Žregarding solar panels manufactured in China, and the allegations of price dumping â€Žthat are being pursued in some of China’s target export markets, including the USA. â€ŽWhile that dispute looks like it will be an ongoing one, the conference made clear that â€ŽChina is interested in developing its Cleantech sector, and increasing its presence in â€Žthe Cleantech community worldwide.
It remains to be seen how tightly China will â€Žadhere to enforcing intellectual property rights domestically, and whether Chinese â€Žcompanies will act responsibly regarding intellectual property rights in foreign markets â€Žas well.â€Ž
Gaston KroubÂ is a partner in the New York office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP.Â Â GastonÂ serves as the co-chair of the Greentech Committee of the NYSBAâ€™s IP Section and has been accredited as a LEED Green Associate.Â Gaston is a registered patent attorney whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and counseling.