Intellectual Property: Hindering Green IT?

Intellectual property rights ensure competitiveness, but do they hinder progress? In terms of green IT, it depends on who you ask.

Coinciding with Copenhagen climate talks, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced a bill on Thursday calling for the protection of intellectual property rights for clean energy and environmental technology in any global climate change agreement.

As of this blog post, full text of the bill was not available on the Internet, but apparently it complements similar bipartisan language included in the House Foreign Relations Authorization Act (HR 2410), which passed this summer.

Mark Esper, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center had this to say in a statement released today:

New inventions and processes will not only help address climate change, but will also lead to job growth and economic expansion… The introduction of this resolution is indicative of the growing bipartisan awareness among lawmakers and those within the administration that robust intellectual property rights are fundamental to America’s economic success and competitiveness.

So who disagrees? China and India and other developing countries that argue the licensing cost to reproduce a product could cripple global advancements in this area, according to reports from the Copenhagen talks. Nearly 80 countries submitted a proposal to discuss the weakening of global intellectual property rights for new innovations designed to reduce carbon emissions.

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