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Environmentally-friendly patents released to public domain

15 January 2008

Leading members of the corporate community have come together in a first-of-its-kind effort to help the environment, releasing dozens of environmentally-responsible patents to the public domain.

The move aims to encourage researchers, entrepreneurs and companies to develop their products, processes, and services in a way that will help to protect the environment.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and IBM are initiating the effort in partnership with Nokia, Pitney Bowes, and Sony.

The pledged portfolio, dubbed the Eco-Patent Commons, is available on a dedicated, public website at

Examples of the environmental benefits expected for pledged patents include energy conservation or improved energy or fuel efficiency, pollution prevention (source reduction, waste reduction), use of environmentally preferable materials or substances, water or materials use reduction, and increased recycling opportunities.

Membership in the Eco-Patent Commons is open to all individuals and companies pledging one or more patents. The selection and submission of each organisation's patents for pledging is at the organization's discretion.

The founding companies and the WBCSD are inviting other interested companies to become members and participate in this initiative promoting innovation and collaboration to help protect the planet.

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