Global Innovation Commons

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URL = http://www.globalinnovationcommons.org/ [1]


Description

David Bollier:

"The Global Innovation Commons is a massive interactive archive of energy-saving technologies whose patents have expired, been abandoned or simply have no protection. The idea is to let entrepreneurs and national governments query the database on a country-by-country basis to identify helpful technologies that are in the public domain. Once identified, these technologies for energy, water and agriculture are prime candidates for being developed at lower costs than patented technologies.

The World Bank is a partner on this project, along with the International Finance Corporation’s infoDev unit. The World Bank has estimated that the technologies in the GIC database could save more than $2 trillion in potential license fees. The Global Innovation Commons essentially seeks to bring the advantages of the open-source software development model — open participation, faster innovation, greater reliability, cheaper costs — to technologies that are claimed to be patented." (http://www.onthecommons.org/content.php?id=2577)


Discussion

"Source: Global Innovation Commons

What would happen if you were given over $2 trillion? That's right, if someone walked up to you and gave you $2 trillion. That could never happen, right?

In fact, that is exactly what has just happened.

While the patent system has been around since the 17th century when it was developed by nobles in Italy and England, it may surprise you that the system was designed to benefit you. Patents were supposed to be a public disclosure to advance science and useful knowledge. If someone shared sufficient information to teach the public about a novel development or useful technology, they would have a limited time (about 20 years) to decide who could use that idea.

There's some bad news and some good news. First, the bad news: For the past 30 years, patents have been abused. Rather than serving the public's expansion of knowledge, they've been used as business and legal weapons. Over 50,000,000 patents covering everything you do have served to keep you from benefiting in many aspects of your life. Many life-saving treatments have been kept from the market because they threaten established business interests. The world's ecosystem has been severely damaged because efficiencies have been kept from entereing the market.

In the face of all this, however, there is the good news: The thirty year "cold war" of innovation is over. Today, you now have access to it all. In the Global Innovation Commons, we have assembled hundreds of thousands of innovations - most in the form of patents - which are either expired, no-longer maintained (meaning that the fees to keep the patents in force have lapsed), disallowed, or unprotected in most, if not all, relevant markets. This means that, as of right now, you can take a step into a world full of possibilities, not roadblocks. You want clean water for China or Sudan - it's in here. You want carbon-free energy - it's in here. You want food production for Asia or South America - it's in here.

But here's the catch. We're sharing this under a license. The license is really simple. If you use this information, you must share what you're doing with everyone else. If you improve upon it, you must share your improvements with everyone else. And finally, if you use any of this information, you must reference the "Global Innovation Commons." That's it. When you take the next step, turn the possibilities into realities."

P2P Efficacy

The GIC goal's are to get information into the hands of people who need it and can develop it into goods and services that can help the world. The license that the GIC uses, and mentions above, forces a certain P2P channel by inciting all innovation to be shared with the public. From a P2P perspective, it's possible to see that the patents and informations that the GIC is making available could be a real book when they can get into the right hands. The largest challenge here is that some of the patents are complicated, and it may take a team with working capital to develop the patent into a useable innovation. If a team can develop the technology, then of course the sharing and enabling that P2P facilitates comes into play.

More Information

  1. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,628606,00.html