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Celebrating Earth Day: How Investing in IP can be an Investment in the Planet

By Lina Cox
Celebrating Earth Day: How Investing in IP can be an Investment in the Planet

Earth Day is an annual global event created in 1970 to raise awareness of growing environmental concerns. This year’s Earth Day, which falls on April 22, has the theme “Invest in our Planet”.

For many of the supporters of Earth Day this investment will be of time. Across the world, from Cambridge to California, from Nanjing to Nairobi, people will be gathering to plant trees, tidy beaches and attend talks to learn about greener ways of living. But in the world of scientific innovation, the founders of Earth Day believe investment of a different kind is needed.

This year’s Earth Day is pushing for financial investment on a global scale which those at Earth Day believe is necessary for the future of our planet. This is a strategy that they are encouraging private companies and governments alike to get behind so that cleantech is not just profitable for the planet, but even more profitable for businesses too.

One way in which inventors are being tempted to invest their time into cleantech inventions is through governments grants. This includes schemes such as the UK government’s Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, and the EU’s 1.5 billion euro Innovation Fund, which both invite applicants with ideas for decarbonisation projects and clean energy alternatives to pitch their plans. Another similar scheme is the Earthshot Prize, fronted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This annual initiative awards million-pound prizes to projects which could provide solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030.

Over the years, it can easily be observed that these prizes are more often claimed by those who have a handle on their IP. This makes sense when you consider what these movements are trying to achieve. For such significant investments, governments want reassurance that new technology is more than a mere idea, but a real, possible solution. One of the best ways for an inventor to show they believe in the promise of a technology is through investing in filing a patent application.

The value of IP in gaining investment to progress in cleantech is clearly visible when looking at past recipients of funding awards. For example, in November 2019, Takachar filed a patent for a portable converter for attaching to tractors, which can turn waste crop residue into biofuels and fertilisers (WO2021096956A1). In 2021, this same invention saw Takachar become recipients of the Earthshot prize for cleaner air.

Similarly, Enapter, last year’s winner of the “Fix our climate” category, first filed an application for their hydrogen-producing technology (WO2020260370A1) in June 2019. Just two years later they claimed a million-pound Earthshot prize.

These examples represent the exact investment cycle that Earth Day 2022 is trying to encourage when it asks us to invest in our planet. Inventors investing time in cleantech make breakthroughs that more and more governments and international corporations are keen to invest in. Their investments can then transform potentially world-changing concepts into real, lucrative products. This in turn encourages more inventors to invest their time in green innovation. Step by step, this positive feedback loop has the potential to steer our planet towards a brighter future.

At J A Kemp, we too are keen to support innovators working to save our planet, with our dedicated cleantech team established specifically to work with inventors in this sphere. If your research is an investment in the Earth we would love to hear from you. Please contact our cleantech team.