October 19, 2016

Innovation Inspiration: IP Champion Professor Arup K. SenGupta

UPDATE: The 2016 IP Champions Gala will feature musical performances by Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray and Billy Morrison of Billy Idol. More information here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) takes pride in recognizing the world’s innovators and creators each year at the IP Champions event.

As a strong advocate for intellectual property (IP) rights, GIPC understands that the best way to celebrate IP is often to celebrate the innovation that thrives under IP’s protection.

From patented inventions and medicines, to copyrighted music and movies, we celebrate the many products of intellectual property.

Ahead of this year’s IP Champions, we’re checking in on a few of the innovators honored in previous years event. Last week, we took a closer look at Second Sight. Up next: Professor Arup K. SenGupta and his Drinkwell water of life technology.

Professor Arup K. SenGupta

Grown in a university research laboratory, Professor SenGupta’s Drinkwell water filter technology now spans the globe, delivering clean, arsenic-free drinking water to thousands of village, rural, and peri-urban communities.

The filter stands 10 feet tall; simply attach it to the pump of a ground well, and tiny beads act as a filter to remove toxins.

SenGupta describes it as “a Brita [household] filter scaled 100 times.”

And it’s saving lives 100 times over.

The World Health Organization reports that the arsenic water crisis, affecting over 200 million people across 70 countries, is the largest mass poisoning in human history.

Beyond arsenic poisoning, an estimated 780 million people lack access to clean drinking water; these people are at risk for cholera, diarrhea, and other water-borne diseases.

Drinkwell’s technology virtually eliminates the risk for these deadly diseases, improving health outcomes drastically.

But Drinkwell is doing more than simply cleaning water. It’s spreading a fiery entrepreneurial spirit everywhere it goes.

The UN reports that 50% of all water projects fail because communities have not or cannot assume responsibility for maintenance and repairs of water systems.

Drinkwell’s  solution: it invests in the regions it visits, using a “micro-franchise model” to establish local clean water businesses and create jobs and greater economic opportunity.

In essence, in addition to its state-of-the-art technology, Drinkwell offers business tools to the people it serves; these tools help local men and women take total control of clean water creation and distribution.

What was once a water crisis transforms into a profitable, healthier future for whole communities.

Drinkwell has seen over 200 successful implementations across Laos, Cambodia, and West Bengal, India.

It’s innovation that truly makes a splash.

Patrick Kilbride is the executive director of international intellectual property for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center.

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