A senior legal adviser to the renewables sector has called on the government to take the lead in creating an intellectual property pool to strengthen the international competitiveness of Scottish companies.
The proposed initiative would bring together the innovations of individual companies in ‘green patent pools’, using the widely acclaimed 3G mobile telephone technology model as its blueprint.
Alison Bryce, a partner and IP & technology specialist with Maclay Murray & Spens, said: “Scotland has a short window of opportunity to secure its place at the forefront of the renewables market, but only if there is a concerted drive to pool the knowledge and advancements across the sector.
“The sector is poised for significant growth but with competition intensifying, we need to cut the time to reach the market. Patent pools offer advantages for everyone involved in the process and the licensing process is far more time and cost effective. By pooling and collectively managing these technologies, we can more easily facilitate licensing and cross licensing, and creating a real competitive advantage for Scottish companies.”
Under the proposed green pools, patent owners would agree licensing terms in advance, simplifying the process of taking licensed technologies to the market, thereby putting the technology to practical use faster than otherwise would have been the case.
“The telecommunications market has benefited greatly from the patent pool. This sector has proved that it is possible to safeguard innovation and competition within a framework where IP is pooled. There is no reason why a similar approach could not be taken to renewables. Patents which are required to maximise efficiency of energy production in the case of each different type of renewable energy source could be usefully pooled. Scotland’s devolved government and our emerging renewables industry should now take the initiative to develop a model or models which could firmly put this sector on the world map for generations to come,” said Bryce.