Green technology is big business. From climate change activists like Greta Thunberg to plastic bag tax and programmes like Blue Planet highlighting the tidal wave of plastic in our oceans, we are all increasingly aware of the devastating impacts of pollution. Therefore, the demand for green or greener ways of doing things is high. If you’re an entrepreneur or start-up and you have an idea or prototype for a green technology, you can capitalise on this increased demand.
One of the things you’ll need to consider is whether you want to get a patent for your invention. A patent gives you the right to take legal action against anyone who makes, sells or imports your invention without your permission and the patent application process for green technology is slightly different than for other inventions. Here we look at how to do it.
What is green technology?
Green technology, or green tech, is an umbrella term that refers to any technology that has an environmentally friendly production process; a technology that mitigates or reverses environmental damage; or even a clean energy production process, such as solar energy.
The goal of green technology is to be sustainable, protect the environment, and even repair past damage. Whether it’s new ways of recycling, renewable energy sources or LED lighting, there are lots of different types of green technology that we currently use, but as we continue to see the effects of global warming rise, humankind needs to do more.
The patenting process
Before you start the patenting process, you need to consider whether a patent is right for your invention. Not all inventions have a large financial value, and the cost and expense of securing a patent could outweigh the profit potential of your invention. In addition, from research to confidentiality agreements to filing your application, there are many stages to the patenting process, so it is best to consult the skills of an experienced patent lawyer, such as a member of the team at Withers.
What is accelerated processing?
The usual time frame for a patent to be processed can be anywhere from a year to four years. However, the Green Channel for patent applications, which was introduced in 2009, allows you to request accelerated processing of your application if your invention has an environmental benefit. You must be able to prove that this is the case.
If, for example, it’s the process that your invention is made by that is green, rather than the product itself, you will need to be able to explain this, and your request may be refused by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) if they do not consider your invention to meet the criteria for the Green Channel. The IPO keeps a database of all published Green Channel patent applications. The most recent ones include a method and apparatus for oil condition monitoring and a road pollution extraction system.
If you’ve got that killer green idea, not only could you be helping to save the planet, it could be a profitable endeavour, so it’s essential that you protect it if necessary. By following the advice above, you could see your product brought to market sooner than you think.