- One way to address global concerns about green patents is by changing the way federally funded green technologies are patented and licensed. A number of articles had recognized that conflicts over IP are contributing to the deadlock in climate change negotiations, but none made the distinction between the patent incentives needed for public-sector and private-sector innovation. I examine the justifications for Bayh-Dole patents as applied to green technologies and conclude that in light of available evidence, patents will impede dissemination of most green technologies.
- Market segmentation should be used for green technologies. The strategy of allowing strong patent protection in rich countries (to recoup development costs) while allowing broad access in poor countries has been made by scholars, advocates, and universities in the medical context (see, e.g., this policy statement from AUTM and many universities), but I'm not aware of anyone who had extended this argument to green engineering technologies. And market segmentation is even more compelling for green technologies because patent protection is less important for them than it is for pharmaceuticals.
- Funding agencies should use their ex ante control over who receives federal grants to influence licensing policies. Several scholars, particularly Professor Arti Rai, have looked at the impact that funding agencies can have on Bayh-Dole reform, but their focus has been on the ex post influence of these agencies on technologies that have already been developed. I argue that agencies could influence university licensing more effectively through their ability to determine who receives federal grants in the first place. For example, the National Science Foundation's "broader impacts" criterion could be used to encompass access-promoting licensing policies.
I welcome feedback, either in the comments or by email. And for readers in New Haven, feel free to stop by the symposium!