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Event on the role of patents in advancing climate change mitigation technologies

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25 September 2017

Some 100 experts from industry, government, international organisations, universities and research institutes, and technology transfer centres met in Athens last week to discuss some of the challenges and recent successes in developing and deploying new technologies to mitigate climate change. Jointly held by the EPO and the Hellenic Industrial Property Organisation, the conference is a part of efforts to strengthen the role of the patent system in facilitating access to and transfer of knowledge in sustainable technologies.

"To meet demanding targets in the area of climate change, a large part of the work will be done by inventors coming up with novel ways and new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said François-Régis Hannart, EPO Principal Director for European and International Co-operation, in his opening remarks. "By granting high-quality patents and providing free access to patent information, we are committed to supporting inventors, scientists and companies focused on a new generation of cleaner, greener technologies for the benefit of the public."

From the Greek side, the conference was opened by Lois Lambrianidis, Secretary General for Strategic & Private Investments at the Ministry of Economy & Development, Prodromos Tsiavos, President of the Administrative Council of the Hellenic Industrial Property Organisation (OBI), and Ioannis Kaplanis, Director General of OBI.

"The battle for mitigating climate change and protecting the environment for the generations to come is fought in the science laboratories and Industry 4.0 factories," said Prodromos Tsiavos. "Our Patent Academy programme and our continued co-operation with the EPO contributes to increasing the quality of patents and improving the patent profession, so that we can build the technologies necessary for a cleaner and greener future."

The EPO's Chief Economist Yann Ménière highlighted the latest developments in climate change mitigation technologies (CCMTs) in Europe and presented the European Patent Office's activities in this area. These include the recent publication of a joint policy brief with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which shows that the number and commercial value of CCMT inventions has been increasing globally over the past decade. The EPO has also created a dedicated tagging scheme for patent documents related to low-carbon technologies, enabling users to retrieve these technologies in the Office's extensive public databases, and making it possible to map sustainable technologies, identify trends, and produce facts and evidence for policy and business decisions.

The EPO has also published several joint studies with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on CCMTs in specific regions. The latest EPO-UNEP report on Europe found that it is the world's leading region for innovation in the area of CCMTs, producing nearly one fifth of the world's low-carbon inventions. The report also shows that Europe has become the most specialised region in CCMTs - with nearly every tenth European invention related to green technologies.

In the closing session, Richard Flammer, Executive Director of the Academy of the EPO, emphasised that in Europe, Greece is one of the countries with the highest specialisation in CCMT innovation, driven by renewable energy technologies and in particular solar energy.  

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