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IP-Watch Interns Summer 2013

IP-Watch interns Brittany Ngo (Yale Graduate School of Public Health) and Caitlin McGivern (University of Law, London) talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

Inside Views

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2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

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4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

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9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

Quantitative Analysis Of Contributions To NETMundial Meeting

A quantitative analysis of the 187 submissions to the April NETmundial conference on the future of internet governance shows broad support for improving security, ensuring respect for privacy, ensuring freedom of expression, and globalizing the IANA function, analyst Richard Hill writes.


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    Inside Views
    Inside Views: General Electric’s View On Green IP And Technology

    Published on 12 June 2008 @ 10:19 am

    Disclaimer: the views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.

    Intellectual Property Watch

    General Electric’s Ecomagination is an initiative launched in 2005 as a gathering/focal point for extant green technology as well as new research and development into clean technology. Ecomagination’s products include technologies for cleaner energy, notably wind turbines for collecting wind energy, photovoltaic tiles for solar energy, and a series of ‘Jenbacher’ engines using waste products as fuel, as well as innovations for greener transportation, and new techniques on water purification.

    Carl Horton, chief intellectual property counsel at General Electric, told participants at the May European Patent Forum 2008 focussed on issues of climate change that the “patent system is one of the necessary prerequisites to inspire companies to do the right things about climate change.” Intellectual Property Watch‘s Kaitlin Mara caught up with him at the forum along with Thaddeus Burns, senior intellectual property counsel at GE. Read our conversation below:


    Intellectual Property Watch (IPW): You said that the patent system is essential to incentivising green technology, but it seems as though Ecomagination uses a lot of already existing technology—what are the patentable outcomes of Ecomagination?

    Thaddeus Burns (Burns): When we launched our Ecomagination strategy in 2005 we made four commitments: First, we would double our investment in eco-friendly technologies to US$1.5 billion by 2010. We have already exceeded the one billion dollar mark. Second, we would double our revenues from Ecomagination products to $20 billion by 2010; today we have a range of 60 certified Ecomagination products and have raised our revenue commitment to $25 billion. Third, we committed to reduce our own GHG emissions and energy usages by 1 percent of 2005 levels, which represents a 30 to 40 percent reduction in real terms. Fourth, we committed to keep our stakeholders informed of our progress. Our third Ecomagination report was published on May 28th.

    Carl Horton (Horton): A big chunk of Ecomagination is not about patentable technology, it’s about taking responsibility for our own actions, as a corporation, as individuals within a corporation. GE has teams in our locations looking at us as consumers, not just as producers. We’ve installed halogen lights and made efforts to cut our emissions. It’s about being a good corporate citizen with transparency to the market.

    IPW: Advanced market commitments are often discussed in public health as a way to incentivise inventions for the public good. Is there any role for that in environmental technology? [Advanced market commitments are binding contracts guaranteeing a market if a technology is developed]

    Horton: This is what we have been talking about at this Forum, what could it take to change the game. One of the things that is unpredictable about a new technology is not knowing if there is going to be a market for it. So often you’re loathe to invest to develop or perfect a new technology with that uncertainty, but if you know there’s a market, the investment is pretty straightforward, and there will be plenty of people willing to invest. Basically, if you can mitigate the risk, then investing in these technologies becomes more palatable. It changes the economic equation much sooner so you can commit earlier on [making clean technology].

    Burns: Supportive government policy is key to shaping the market for many clean technologies, especially in the transportation and energy sectors. Through USCAP [United States Climate Action Partnership, a group composed of businesses and environmental groups that is lobbying the government for stronger legislation to fight greenhouse gasses], GE and the over 40 other representatives from industry and NGO groups are actively involved in presenting the case for legislation around carbon emissions.

    There is a lack of empirical research supporting the narrative that IP is a problem. We want the debate on this issue to be evidence-based. We are an evidence-driven company with rigorous standards for how we inform our decisions. And we hope that policy in this area would be made the same way. Given the size of our investments, the length of time for development and the stakes, we need to get this right the first time.

    IPW: What do you make of arguments that intellectual property is in the way of technical application to combat climate change?

    Horton: The rhetoric we hear people saying, that IP is the problem, I don’t understand it. I don’t see how patents are stopping anybody from making a wind or a gas-fired turbine. We don’t believe the premise, we think it’s hype.

    There are other ways you could reform policy to get those technologies into the market; reshaping the IP paradigm is not the way to do it because it isn’t the problem. But there are other things you can do, such as these advanced market commitments, such as lowering tariffs around certain tech so you could make [key technologies] more affordable.

    Regarding the compulsory licensing discussion: people looked at the pharmaceutical sector and said the reason people are dying in Africa because the cost of AIDS drugs is exorbitant for economies in developing countries, and they’re patented so no one else can manufacture them. In that scenario, one patent or a few patents cover a drug, though there was a lot of research and development going into the drug. And even there, IP is only one of many factors.

    In the environmental technology field, the situation is different. There are, for example, hundreds if not thousands of patents on a given wind turbine. And some of that technology goes back 20, 40, 50, 60 years.

    IPW: So a lot of those patents are out of date?

    Horton: Yes, anyone can go out and make a basic turbine. That can be done freely. It’s the things that are making them more efficient, more profitable that are on patent. But even if I gave you access to that technology that is under patent, you would still have to find a way to manufacture the basic technology, which you may or may not know how to do.

    And unlike a drug, you cannot replicate it. For a drug, once you work out a compound, you can replicate those pills for pennies. With a turbine, there’s a huge amount of metal, a huge amount of labour, you can never manufacture a turbine for cheap. There’s nowhere near the profit margin around a turbine that there is around medicine. A lot of things do not translate from the pharmaceutical paradigm.

    IPW: Thank you.

     

    Comments

    1. Episode 14. Matthew Rimmer on Intellectual Property and Clean Technologies « Public Ethics Radio says:

      [...] Specifically, Carl Horton, GE’s IP Chief, said that the “patent system is one of the necessary prerequisites to inspire companies to do the right things about climate change.” [...]


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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