Published February 15, 2024

Climate change is a global issue, and calls for rapid action are growing stronger. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to keep global warming to 1.5°C. The message is clear: climate change is a worldwide issue that requires a global solution.

Green technology patenting trend in India

As per an article published by The Times Of India, every second patent granted in India between 2016 and 2021 is related to green technology, with a quarter of green technology patents dealing with alternative energy production, aligning with efforts to “enhance the use of green technology to boost the economy and encourage consumers to use products produced through the use of such technology.”

Data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry revealed that more than 91,500 patents were granted between 2016 and 2017 and 2021 and 2022. In total, 61,186 patents for green technologies were granted within the specified time, and 90% of these are for waste management and alternative energy generation technologies, with 38,837 (63%) linked to waste management and more than 16,000 (26%) related to alternative energy production.

The remaining green technology patents cover energy conservation (2,555), transportation technologies (2,481), nuclear power generation (1,079), agriculture and forestry (161), and others (69).

Between 2006 and 2020, global patent applications for green energy and energy-efficient technologies increased by roughly 120% under the International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

According to a report published by the Department of Intellectual Property in India, the patent applications filed in this domain are mostly of foreign origin. However, Indian inventors have recently shown a sizeable growth.

Overall, it is essential that Asian countries work together to design the future of intellectual property (IP), strike a balance between innovation and societal use, and lay a solid foundation for an IP innovation ecosystem. India’s commitment to supporting innovation, capitalizing on emerging technology, and understanding the importance of IP in driving economic progress was also emphasized. The significant increase in patent grants, design registrations, and brand registrations demonstrates India’s advancement in IP.

Global policy support for green patents

Globally, IP bodies are endorsing climate change-related technologies, with some adopting special provisions and building venues to bring together like-minded inventors. For example, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has created an IPC Green Inventory, which allows for easy searching of global patent information related to green technology, as well as a platform called WIPO GREEN, which connects eco-friendly technology solutions to the global innovation ecosystem, facilitating exchange and matchmaking via its online database.

Several countries have also launched measures to encourage green technology research and development. In 2009, the UK established the ‘Green Channel’ to speed up green technology patent approvals. Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and the US established similar fast-track plans the same year, followed by Canada in 2011, Brazil and China in 2012, and Taiwan in 2014. 

Importance of patent protection to green technology

Patents give the holder the sole authority to prevent others from using the invention. Patents are an individual right or privilege that encourages the creator to invest, advertise, and sell their patented design, and no other has the right or claim to it. It is beneficial not only from a legal standpoint but also to expanding the invention’s business; awarding patents is frequently referred to as establishing investment incentives. 

Incentives for investment imply that any firm interested in green technology would look at a strong patent portfolio, including their patent filing strategy and patent holdings in a particular industry. Companies consider any specific green technology’s financial, political, and associated risks before investing in it. Because green technology is evolving, patenting these inventions would assist corporations in gaining confidence before investing in green technology. Green patents are an excellent way to incentivize and stimulate investments in green technologies.


The intersection of patents and climate change is a critical nexus in the pursuit of sustainable solutions on a global scale. India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has shown a remarkable commitment to fostering innovation through IP, evident in the substantial increase in patent grants, design registrations, and brand registrations. The role of patents in green technology is not just legal protection but a catalyst for investment, innovation, and confidence-building in the emerging field of environmentally friendly technologies.

Globally, initiatives like WIPO’s Green Inventory and WIPO GREEN showcase a collaborative effort to connect inventors, facilitate knowledge exchange, and accelerate the development and adoption of green technologies. Fast-track patent approval programs in various countries further demonstrate the recognition of the importance of expediting the deployment of green innovations.

As we navigate the challenges posed by climate change, green patents emerge as a pivotal tool to incentivize and stimulate investments in sustainable technologies. 

Rashmita Das, LL.M.

Written by Rashmita Das, LL.M.

Content Strategist, United & United

United & United

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