Business Groups Join To Protect ‘Green Tech’ IP Rights

A coalition backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, major U.S. firms and possibly organized labor plans to launch an effort next month to influence U.S. government policy as negotiators prepare for United Nations climate-change talks this summer. The group will focus on protecting the patents of green technology manufacturers, who fear certain countries will push for compulsory licensing carve-outs for alternative energy innovations. Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet in Copenhagen in December to reach an international agreement on how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. A 2007 action plan for UNFCCC encouraged parties to “avoid trade and intellectual property rights policies, or lack thereof, restricting transfer of technology,” but it did not offer a common definition of what technology transfer is or what form it must take. Countries such as China and India have indicated interest in exemptions that would let them piggyback on the achievements of U.S. companies without adequate compensation, according to Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center. Multinationals like General Electric and Siemens are already investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop wind turbines, solar panels and other technologies to address climate change. Those products, which are engineered and manufactured in the United States, can then be sold and licensed overseas.

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