In view of growing concerns about environmental issues
relating to the manufacture of electronics, a new initiative to
share patents relating to environment-friendly inventions has
been created. Earlier this year, IBM and the World Business
Council for Sustainable Development Team partnered with Nokia,
Pitney Bowes and Sony to establish the Eco-Patent Commons.
The Eco-Patent Commons aims to create a shared collection of
such patents and to encourage innovations in the area of
environment sustainability. The hope is that the collaboration
and co-operation fostered through the sharing of these patents
will produce a number of environmental benefits for its
members, including energy conservation, water consumption
reductions, pollution prevention and increased recycling.
To become a member of the Eco-Patent Commons, a company must
submit at least one patent to it and pledge not to enforce it
against other members. Approved patents will be made available
for other members to use free of charge. Donors would have
comparable access to patents submitted by other members. Nokia,
for example, has pledged a patent relating to recycling
technology that may help in recycling old mobile phones into
new devices like digital cameras.
McCarthy Tétrault Notes:
Participation in patent-sharing pools is a double-edged
sword. While you may get access to third-party patents, you
will also have to contribute some of your proprietary rights to
the pool. Care should be taken to consider the filing and
reporting requirements of the pool, which may not be suitable
for your needs and goals. For example, you may have developed a
particularly valuable patent that you may not wish to
contribute to the pool, but may be obliged to do so.
The content of this article is intended to provide a
general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should
be sought about your specific circumstances.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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