Correspondent's Choice

This story about green patents developed in the EU was published by EurActiv on 1st October 2010.

While moves to develop an EU patent have intensified with the Belgian presidency, which believes it can reach a consensus by the end of the year, a new study shows that three European countries are among the six nations dominating innovation in the clean energy sector.

According to a comprehensive new study by the European Patent Office (EPO), Germany, France and the UK join Japan, the US and South Korea in leading the emerging green tech revolution, filing 80% of all patent applications in the field.

EPO Chief Benoît Battistelli said China, India and Brazil are catching up quickly and have ramped up their efforts in niche clean tech sectors. China is now the major player in the wind energy sector, despite having published very few patents in this industry until five years ago.

“In wind energy, China has gone from being nowhere five years ago to being the leading player globally. For India and Brazil, photovoltaic technology and hydropower are the major sources of patents,” said Battistelli.

Political signal sparks green innovation

The study by the EPO, the UN Environment Programme, and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, reveals a surge in new patent applications in the clean energy sector following the Kyoto protocol.

Battistelli said political signals can help spur investment by industry in low-carbon technology, arguing that a future deal on climate mitigation could generate a new wave of innovation in the energy sector.

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