A new WIPO report, released to coincide with World IP Day on Sunday 26 April, has highlighted the fact that innovation in environmentally friendly technologies as measured by international patent applications barely rose in 2019, prompting a call from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry for a green tech surge to fight climate change.

For its “World IP Day 2020: Innovate for a Green Future” report, the WIPO analyzed international patent filings via its Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in four categories of green energy technologies. These covered:

  • alternative energy production, notably renewable energy technologies;
  • energy conservation technologies;
  • green transportation; and
  • nuclear power generation.

The report found that PCT applications – one measure of innovative activity – containing at least one IPC green energy code, grew to 16,940 applications in 2019, a 1.3 percent increase from 2018. This lags a peak of 17,880 in 2016 and represents just over 6% of the total number of PCT applications filed in 2019.

Further, the report highlighted the fact that overall green innovation growth has been hindered by a drop in alternative energy technologies, which fell 18% since 2013.

Commenting, Mr Gurry said: “Climate change has far-reaching effects for all of us and innovation in green tech sectors will be key to successfully addressing this global challenge. Policymakers, businesses, academic institutions, inventors around the world: Let’s all work together to create a green-tech innovation surge that meets the requirements of our times.”

In 2000, WIPO’s member states designated April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World IP Day, with the aim of increasing general understanding of IP. Since then, World IP Day has offered a unique opportunity each year for IP professionals around the globe to consider how IP contributes to, amongst many other topics and subject areas, the flourishing of music and the arts, and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world.


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