Patent as a Tool for Facilitating Innovation: Lessons from Green Technology

Digital Policy Hub Working Paper

March 21, 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technologies designed for climate-smart agriculture have the potential to enhance various stages of agricultural processes. Promoting innovation with an environmental focus has become a central objective in both national and international environmental policies. Intellectual property (IP) regimes, particularly patent laws, are recognized as pivotal regulatory mechanisms to drive technological advancement. Recognizing the substantive role of patents in fostering innovation, various patent-based collaborative models have been introduced to encourage the development of green technologies. Despite the adoption of various patent-based mechanisms, the inadequacy of patent systems in incentivizing green technology is well documented and persists. A potential solution to capture more positive externalities associated with green technologies involves the implementation of a patent prize system, also known as a “patent reward.” The introduction of a Patents for Humanity award across diverse jurisdictions could be a highly effective stimulus for innovating AI-powered, climate-smart agricultural technologies.

About the Author

Mahatab Uddin is an adjunct professor and post-doctoral researcher at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph and an expert on climate change law, intellectual property law, technology transfer and sustainable development. His research with the Digital Policy Hub as a post-doctoral fellow will focus on possible legal frameworks for AI-run climate-smart agricultural practices.