EPO at the forefront of renewable energy technology

20 July 2015

EPO President Benoît BattistelliRecently, the EPO announced that the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has launched a joint initiative with the EPO to provide access to information on renewable energy technologies. Thanks to the International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy (INSPIRE) platform, anyone can now have access to the world’s largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patent documents.

The INSPIRE database uses information from the EPO so that users can research more than two million documents and 400 standards relating to renewable energy and other technologies in the field of Carbon mitigation. It is a contribution which we are privileged to make; one of our goals is to empower the user with the information that they need in order to effectively research patents.

The provision of free, easy to access information is a central policy of the EPO that we have put in place in the past through ground-breaking projects such as Patent Translate or ESPACENET, which has been providing access to over 90 million patent documents worldwide since 1998. At the time, the move was seen as revolutionary and now the EPO, together with IRENA, is once again breaking new ground in the provision of patent related information. The access to such information is an incredibly useful resource which innovators and researchers can use to pay due diligence to existing intellectual property when developing their own inventions. As such, it is a driver of innovation, bringing immense benefits for the economy and our daily lives.

Here at the EPO, we have the privilege to work on a daily basis with those technologies that make genuine contributions to our society. There are innovations and technologies which we research based on the most refined classification, including green technology tags and for which we grant patents whose benefits go beyond the economic; new medical devices that diagnose disease faster, food supplements that stave off starvation in malnourished populations, computer technologies that aid the severely impaired and new materials that reduce waste.

But crucially, patents are also key drivers in the development of climate change mitigating technologies. In recent years we have granted patents for technologies that are now playing a key role in reducing carbon emissions. Europe has a proud history of being pioneers in the field of renewable energy. We are world leaders in environment policy through ambitious climate change goals. The patents, granted by the EPO in this field, is the intellectual property that ensures their continual development and legal certainty in this lucrative market. Our dedicated examiners have built up tremendous expertise, not just in clean energies but all areas of sustainable innovations, such as smart grids, energy storage, green construction, and green transportation.

These innovations will be firmly under the spotlight this year when the United Nations Climate Change Conference is held in Paris at the beginning of December. As we head into those talks, we can be sure that world leaders will be seeking to achieve a legally enforceable agreement, the attainment of which will be largely depend upon the viability and effectiveness of clean energy technologies.

With the European Commission declaring last month that the EU is on track to meet our own EU-wide renewable energy target of 20% by 2020, we can be confident that this is largely due to renewable energy technology. With the UN talks fast approaching and the EU target on track, rarely has there been a time in which these technologies have played such a fundamental role in policy and economic development. The EPO, with its extensive institutional knowledge in these technologies, will play its part. Not only will we contribute to the INSPIRE database, but we will continue to administer the highest quality intellectual property protection for clean energy technologies that will contribute to the attainment of future climate change goals.

Benoît Battistelli


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