We’re happy to announce the first entry for our 2nd SpicyIP Fellowship! Radhika Agarwal, a 4th year student at Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad brings us a timely post on a new initiative by WIPO called WIPO Green. Released just a couple of days ago, WIPO Green aims to be ‘an interactive marketplace that promotes innovation and diffusion of green technologies’.
WIPO Green: A new hope for green technology innovators
With environmental protection being the need of the hour, WIPO Green is the latest initiative taken by the World Intellectual Property Organization to facilitate exchange of environment-friendly technologies. The need for such a mechanism had been felt for a long time. As early as December 2010, the members of the United Nations had adopted a bunch of agreements (Cancun agreements) at The United Nations Climate Change Conference (held in Cancun, Mexico) which called for the creation of a Technology Executive Committee consisting of twenty experts as members in order to create a mechanism for transfer and development of technology, and thus implement the framework of the climate change Convention. The Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA) was the first to come up with the idea of WIPO Green. A year back when the idea of WIPO Green was being mooted, Anja von der Ropp (working as a Legal Officer for the Global Challenges Division of WIPO) had written about the initiative as ‘Facilitating Dissemination of Green Technology’. According to her, countries facing climate change challenges were unavailable to access environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) due to a number of reasons such as economic barriers (for example, trade barriers or a country’s policy restricting foreign direct investment), lack of proper know-how about the mechanisms for technology transfer or lack of adequate environmental or intellectual property policy.
The WIPO Green program was officially launched on 28th November, 2013. The purpose behind this concept is to create an online database, with information about the different green technologies available. WIPO Green’s definition of green technologies corresponds to that of environmentally sound technologies given in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 (The United Nations Programme of Action from Rio, 1992), which reads as follows: Green technologies “protect the environment, are less polluting, use all resources in a more sustainable manner, recycle more of their wastes and products, and handle residual waste in a more acceptable manner than the technologies for which they were substitutes.”
The assemblage of various technologies right from those that are in the nascent stage of development (and are undergoing the process of research and experimentation) to those that have been made into finished marketable products makes the idea of WIPO Green a unique one. Such a platform is in fact a marketplace for stakeholders to negotiate and to use a number of services such as WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center that have been made available to the WIPO Green users. It is a great initiative to the developers of green technology as they can virtually meet companies or individuals who are willing to distribute, license or commercialize such technology.
While the technology holders retain their intellectual property rights once they upload information about their technologies, they also have the freedom to negotiate agreements with the collaborating parties on terms that they have mutually agreed upon. By allowing such individual negotiations to take place within its ambit, WIPO Green provides for in-built flexibility in its functioning. Moreover, through its network, innovators can collaborate with major stakeholders such as investors, academics, intergovernmental organization etcetera. With registration being required to be made only one-time, WIPO Green remains accessible for free.
The project already consists of thirty five international partners that include the JIPA (Japan), the East Africa Climate Innovation Network, International Chamber of Commerce (France), International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (Switzerland), Siemens (Germany), the Association of University Technology Managers, United Nations Environment Program (Kenya), United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (United States of America) and CambridgeIP (United Kingdom). Its Indian partners are Villgro Innovations Foundation and Sathguru Management Consultants. Moreover, WIPO Green boasts of one thousand uploads listing green technologies, which were made during its pilot and testing phase.
According to Francis Gurry who is the Director General of WIPO, “Innovative green technologies have an important role to play in addressing climate change. Our objective is for WIPO GREEN to become a go-to platform for green technologies, thanks to our growing network of partners and innovative collaborations with major global technology databases.”
WIPO Green caters to a large market by creating business opportunities for large well-established corporations that can hope to find new development opportunities as well as helping small or medium-sized enterprises (SME) find new business partners or opportunities in different regions for growth. By aiming to help in accelerating innovation and diffusion of green technologies in developing countries, this project promises to lead the world to a greener future. This is indeed the need of the hour!
 United Nations Environment Programme, UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun delivers balanced package of decisions, restores faith in multilateral process, http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=653&ArticleID=6866 (last visited November 30, 2013)
 Anja von der Ropp, WIPO Green: Facilitating Dissemination of Green Technology, WIPO Magazine (June 2012) available at http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2012/03/article_0006.html (last visited November 30, 2013)