[p2p-research] Patent regimes and innovation in developing countries

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 15 22:40:04 CET 2009

Thanks for replying to this query!

On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 12:11 AM, Silke Helfrich <Silke.Helfrich at gmx.de>wrote:

> Hello,
> I received the e-mail below from the European Business Council on
> Sustainable Energy, an organization I work with on the commons. They are
> quite innovative (f.i. linking the energy debate with the open hardware
> discussion). I don't dare to respond, since I am not an expert in the field.
> It would be great to get some advice from people who are better informed
> than I am.
> Some links and current data would help, in English and German, your opinion
> as well, of course.
> Best regards and many thanks in advance
> Silke Helfrich
> Am Mittwoch, den 11.11.2009, 17:56 +0100 schrieb Julio Lambing:
> Dear Ms. Helfrich,
> As you know, the European Business Council for Sustainable Energy is
> concerned with the question how eco-innovation, carbon-neutral and clean
> energy technologies can gain a foothold in developing countries.
> Therefore, for some time past* we devote ourselves to initiating an Open**Source Hardware Initiative including a database for these technologies**which is to employ a model similar to the GNU (GPL) license.*
> At one of our workshops, the representative of a major technology
> company pointed out that in various structurally weak developing
> countries there is no effective protection of "intellectual property".
> Thus, ruthless trend scouts can spot innovative inventions in these
> countries (e.g. in Afirca and make them available to companies
> in industrialised and threshold countries without sharing the benefits
> with the innovators. Therefore, we were called upon to advocate the
> strengthening of patent regimes in developing countries (with financial
> and juridical support by industrialised countries) in order to safeguard
> a just compensation for these innovators or communities.
> We are no experts regarding the question if and how patent regimes are
> effective in developing countries for local innovators and SMEs.
> Therefore, we address you as an adept of the international discussion on
> this topic.
> In general, for years there is a discussion on whether patents are an
> obstacle or a catalyst for the transfer of climate-friendly
> technologies. At the international climate negotiations, speakers from
> developing countries deplore the role of patents as an obstacle to the
> diffusion of climate-friendly technologies. We, as representatives of
> companies providing these technologies, are sceptical. Most
> carbon-neutral technologies are not patent relevant any longer, and
> there are providers of these technologies from developing countries in
> the market as well, so there is no monopoly. Furthermore, the main
> obstacle for employing climate-friendly technologies in developing
> countries are lack of investment capital and lack of know-how regarding
> available technologies and their maintenance. Patent-related problems we
> could only identify concerning corrosion protection for offshore
> windparks, the second generation of biofuels, CCS technology and,
> perhaps, some recent developments in the sphere of photovoltaics. We
> represent a considerable number of green companies which fought long and
> hard for their technologies and deem it unfair that, of all things,
> these technologies are drawn into the patent debate -- in contrast to
> those which polluted the Earth for decades. (Nevertheless, we deem it
> important to further eco-innovation on a voluntary base employing a true
> Open Source approach. Support, also financial support, would always be
> welcome ;-)  )
> Innovative climate protection technologies will be sought-after economic
> goods in the future. What is your estimate regarding the status quo of
> the international discussion on the strengthening of patent regimes in
> developing countries - or, rather, mechanisms for safeguarding
> compensation for innovations like "access and benefit sharing (ABS)"
> discussed in the biodiversity debate?
> Please feel free to forward these questions to other experts.
> Thanks a lot for your help and best regards
> Julio Lambing
> Managing Director
> e5 - European Business Council for Sustainable Energy
> Hauptstrasse 43
> D-61184 Karben
> Germany
> Fon: +49 6039 9291958
> Fax: +49 6039 9291961lambing at e5.org

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