Guest Post: Gaston Kroub on Two International Clean Tech Conferences

December 10th, 2012 by Gaston Kroub Leave a reply »

Part II:  Eilat, Israel

In my previous post, I discussed my observations regarding a current and future ‎Cleantech giant – China. As I noted in that post, I also spoke recently at an Israeli ‎Global Cleantech conference, held in Eilat in late November.

Israel has long been an ‎innovation leader in the Cleantech space, a phenomenon driven by the country’s ‎security needs and dearth of natural resources, coupled with a highly educated ‎workforce and established culture of technology innovation.

Interestingly, one of the ‎leading drivers of Cleantech innovation is the Israeli military, which is investing heavily ‎in developing renewable energy sources for its purposes. Of course, many of the ‎military-developed technologies can be easily adapted for civilian use. One example ‎is a portable water purification kit, originally developed for ‎military applications, but also useful for civilian hikers and campers. ‎

A major takeaway from the conference is that the Israeli focus on Cleantech innovation ‎is not wavering in the least. Conference attendees spanned the entire spectrum of ‎Cleantech technology areas, from solar to biofuels to wind.

Because of the start-up ‎nature of many of the Israeli companies in attendance, there was an unsurprising ‎focus on the financing of Cleantech innovation, whether via venture capital or through ‎strategic partnerships with larger corporations.

The importance of a robust patent ‎portfolio as an attractant for that investment was well-understood by the companies ‎exhibiting at the conference, irrespective of whether they were competing in a mature ‎market like solar, or looking to advance a disruptive technology in a less-crowded ‎Cleantech field.  Target markets for Israeli Cleantech products and services include the ‎USA, EU, China, Korea, and India amongst others.

In addition to the awareness of ‎intellectual property as a competitive mechanism, there was also a serious focus at the ‎conference on the importance of quality standards for implementation of Cleantech ‎products in the marketplace. One example discussed was a new Israeli electrical ‎standard applicable to electrical switchboards.‎

In many ways the conference reflected a mature Cleantech focus within the Israeli ‎business, government, and academic communities. While there was a definite ‎expressed interest in uncovering the next big thing in Cleantech, there was also a ‎decided interest in allocating money and brainpower towards tackling present and ‎solvable issues with existing technology.

Interestingly, there was a sizable Chinese ‎presence at the conference, and a spirit of potential future cooperation was in the air, ‎with China supplying the manufacturing capability and Israel the innovation.

And ‎while Israel rightly has earned its place as a net contributor of many promising new ‎Cleantech innovations, it was interesting to see how focused the domestic participants ‎were with also making sure that Israel keeps pace with the world in deploying existing ‎renewable energy technologies – to serve its own energy needs.

Whether that juggling ‎act is successful remains to be seen, but it was heartening to see and experience the ‎vast potential that a country classified as part of the developing world has to help ‎ensure a sustainable future for us all.‎

Gaston Kroub is a partner in the New York office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP.  Gaston serves as the co-chair of the Greentech Committee of the NYSBA’s IP Section and has been accredited as a LEED Green Associate.  Gaston is a registered patent attorney whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and counseling.


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