How IP Has a Role in Solutions for a Sustainable Planet
“This could be a fantastic run for anyone in the IP business for the next 30 years.” Talal Shamoon, CEO of Intertrust started a panel discussion on “IP (intellectual property – ed.) & Sustainability” at the CIP Forum 2021 by pointing out the giant business opportunity of transitioning to sustainability will be a boon to the IP sector as well. Joining Shamoon on the panel were Jenny Blidefalk, Director of IP at Northvolt, Roberto Castagno, Head of Intellectual Property at Neste, and Iben Haasum, Senior Director, IPR & Licensing at Chr. Hansen.
One of the main themes was how IP, including copyright and trademarks, could help drive collaboration around sustainability. Shamoon mentioned how, in many ways, he saw sustainability as a behavioral issue that should not only be addressed by governments and corporations, but also involve consumer education. Haasum, whose company specializes in products derived from microbial science, mentioned how Chr. Hansen licensed their IP to help run a campaign to reduce the amount of yogurt wasted by consumers. The campaign focused on how yogurt was still good to buy and eat even if it was about to reach its expiration date.
On the industrial side, Bildefalk and Castagno brought up how their companies saw IP as a way to drive collaboration within their product ecosystems. Northvolt is a startup building a factory to produce batteries for electric vehicles. Given their goal to ramp production quickly, Bildefalk said the company saw IP as one way of driving an international industry ecosystem to support this effort.
While it started in oil and gas refining, Neste is now increasing its focus on fuels, plastics, and other products manufactured from renewable resources. Castagno mentioned that for his company, rather than use traditional transportation methods, bringing its technology to where the raw materials and customers for its products exist is more important and IP is “very relevant” (Castagno) to this process.
Discussing how IP could be mobilized to drive sustainability and climate change control projects in emerging markets, Shamoon suggested that moves around IP for the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines are showing an effective path to reach this goal. Castagno agreed and said that the issue is to make necessary technology cheaper and more accessible and not to neutralize the IP industry as a whole. He suggested that there could be funding from governments for patent pools for something like EV charging that would offer patents royalty-free or under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms.
Panel participants (clockwise starting at top left): Talal Shamoon, CEO at Intertrust, Roberto Castagno, Head of Intellectual Property at Neste, Iben Haasum, Senior Director, IPR & Licensing at Chr. Hansen, and Jenny Blidefalk, Director of IP at Northvolt