Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies

Australia poor at patenting cleantech by Justin Blows
January 19, 2009, 3:00 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , , , ,

Clean and sustainable technologies (“cleantech”) have grown much faster than other technologies since the signing of the Kyoto protocol in 1997 – but not in Australia. That’s the conclusion from a new report based on patent data, titled Invention and transfer of climate change mitigation technologies on a global scale: A study drawing on patent data.


Global patent filings in cleantech grew 9% per year between 1998 and the end of the analyzed period 2003. However, this growth was not evident in Australia and the USA – a situation attributed to the governments of these countries historically having little regard for climate change. The USA still has not ratified the Kyoto protocol and Australia ratified it only last year. The Australian Government has since embraced climate change mitigation and has pro-climate policies including renewable energy targets, an emissions trading scheme and is funding The Australian Solar Institute and The International Carbon Capture and Storage Institute

Based on the historical patent data and the change in political climate, Australia is positioned for a dramatic increase in cleantech patent filings. In the analyzed period, Australia accounted for less cleantech inventions than Brazil with 1.1% of world inventions, while Japan accounted for a massive 40.8%. Indeed, if Australia does not increase its patent filings it will continue to loose out on opportunities to export clean and sustainable technologies during a time when cleantech imports must increase. Hopefully, Australia’s cleantech industry & researchers will embrace a patenting culture to ensure Australia’s international competitiveness and accelerate the transfer of technologies to the developing world.

Interestingly, the Kyoto Protocol has not accelerated technology transfer, especially from developed to developing nations. Most, 75%, of the transfer of patented technology is from one developed nation to another.



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