One of these lies in just how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. A protectionist strategy to Invention Companies is made to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow innovators to capture the profits from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also makes it tougher for new and more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why now there are other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla, continues to be doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the world in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and handing out its patents at no cost. It is essential to comprehend the rationale here. Why would a company that had worked so hard to develop and protect its technology from the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away at no cost?
Tesla initially designed a patent portfolio to safeguard its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it would be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their production of electric cars never arrived at pass. Instead, it saw the electrical car market stagnate at under 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from seeking to prevent others from building electric cars to attempting to encourage them into the market.
Part of the reasoning here is that if more electric cars are designed, then more battery recharging stations is going to be built too. This would make electric cars become a little more visible, along with a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that an open intellectual property strategy can strengthen instead of diminish its position by building how big the electrical car market, and as a result, build their own share of the total automotive market.
This kind of careful control over Inventhelp Caveman at company level, backed up by policy-level awareness, can become a powerful approach to keep the same kinds of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.
Energy supply faces a range of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. The water supply sector is fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events including flooding and expenses associated with supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food and to address malnutrition in poor countries.
For such industries to navigate a path around these problems, new knowledge and also the innovations that follow is going to be essential. As well as in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or even an inhibitor.
If the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented inside an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, such as inside the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead open their innovation processes and move away from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is used to briaac and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles and a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was dreaming about in electric vehicles.
This approach to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature inside the software industry and healthcare. It has given use of life-saving medicines to millions of people, especially in developing countries through patent pools, like the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Inventhelp Invention Stories, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s its not all about open IP.