Not content with solving all known legal, economic, social and cultural issues arising out of intellectual property rights, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is now tackling climate change. According to today's press release ("WIPO Outlines How It Can Help Meet the Challenges of Climate Change"):
"WIPO Director General Francis Gurry participated on December 16, 2009 in a series of events related to international climate talks in Copenhagen and outlined how WIPO can contribute to international efforts to mitigate climate change. Mr Gurry underlined that policies that stimulate the creation and diffusion of technology are key elements in developing an effective and practical global response to the threats posed by climate change [This statement is true, but in a way so is its opposite. The same policies have stimulated the technologies that caused the threats in the first place]. He said judicious use of the intellectual property (IP) system can make a positive contribution in crafting the many and diverse technological solutions needed to attenuate the impacts of climate change [so long as those solutions aren't business methods or other excluded patentable subject matter ...].The IPKat is pleased to see WIPO taking the initiative and advocating the positive uses to which IP can be directed. This is much better than waiting to defend the usual assaults from well-meaning but often ill-informed critics who view the innovation process with a degree of hindsight that makes it difficult for them to see how risky it can be to develop any new product or process.
Speaking at a side event on the theme “International Cooperation on Technology Transfer: Time for Action,” Mr. Gurry said achieving a transformation from a carbon-based society to a carbon-free one is a complex and unprecedented task that will require innovative and complementary approaches to technology policy [WIPO has already implemented a shift to a less carbon-dependent policy, by cutting Merpel off its list of Christmas card recipients].
Intellectual property (IP), he said, has an important role to play in technology policy - encouraging investment in the creation of environment-friendly technologies and their rapid dissemination are major policy objectives to which priority must be given. In both cases, the IP system, and in particular patents, are fundamentally important in that they provide a stimulus for investment in green innovation and contribute to a rapid – and global – diffusion of new technologies and knowledge [This is important: the impending death of a planet is a stimulus to survive through change, but IP is a stimulus to invest while there's still time].
Green innovation requires significant private investment. An effective patent system provides an incentive for businesses to make such an investment by making an invention a tradable good which can be licensed or assigned creating opportunities for technology partnerships and commercial return. Effective patent protection can thus spur international technology transfer from the private sector [The IPKat remains amazed at how poor, overall, has been the apparent record of the public sector in investing in the critical technologies over the years].
Mr. Gurry said the patent system provides the most comprehensive public repository of information on the latest technologies – as all patent documents are published and freely available to the public [It's good to remind people of this]. This information contains knowledge that already exists and which can support the development of new technologies or help to identify technologies that are off-patent or no longer protected and therefore freely available for use or adaptation. It is necessary to ensure that this information is widely disseminated for instance through tools and services that enhance access to up-to-date information on relevant technologies through patent information resources. ...".
Left: With a warm feline on his lap, this elderly gentleman can dispense with his hot-water-bottle or reduce the level of his central heating
Merpel says, no-one fully appreciates the role played by cats in reducing carbon output, by acting as animate hot-water-bottles for chilly humans.
Cats and cold weather here
Cats and warm weather here
Cool for Cats here