Summary of our upcoming talk on Climate Change and IP @ INTA conference in Dubai on December 10 & 11, 2018

22 Nov 2018

We have been invited to give a presentation on Climate Change and IP at the upcoming INTA Conference in Dubai https://www.inta.org/Programs/Pages/2018Dubai_Overview.aspx

 

 

Below is a summary of the four topics I will cover

 

 

  1. Climate Change and Trade

  2. Climate Change Finance and IP

  3. Climate Change litigation and IP

  4. Climate Change, blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, the 4th Industrial Revolution

 

I.             Climate Change treaties and the law of global economy: designing IP strategies to ensure success in a world constrained by carbon.

 

Is there any coherence between the law of the global economy (e.g WTO, TRIPS Agreement) with Climate Change treaties (e.g. UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement on Climate Change) in the context of Climate Change innovations, branding and labeling?  Companies need to develop and implement effective and credible Climate Change and IP strategies to ensure success in a world constrained by carbon and in this context can IP department/attorneys afford to ignore Climate Change rules and regulations? I will highlight the two regimes, trade and Climate Change, revealing mutual supportiveness but also clear divergences and tensions.

 

Extract from Fabrice Mattei paper on trade and climate change is available at ww.ipandclimatechange.com

 

“There are high expectations resulting from the Paris Agreement as a milestone in global efforts to combat Climate Change. Such efforts encompass a wide range of measures at many levels. Chief among them is the large scale access, diffusion and development of Climate Change technologies to drive economies around the world to move from carbon intensive to low carbon emissions technologies. In the lead up to the PA, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has commented: ‘Intellectual property, technology transfer, and financing are among a wide range of topics that must be addressed in the context of Climate Change and sustainable development’”

 

II.           Climate change finance and IP: what are the impacts of carbon markets and emission prices on IP?

 

What are the impacts of carbon price on Intellectual Property? Can R&D and branding expenditures be financed through selling carbon emissions credits? What are the potential shaming impacts on companies buying extra carbon emission units? What to expect from the recently launched Emission Trading Schemes (ETS) of China on Chinese companies’ IP strategies? What are the relationships between Climate Change innovations and ETS and Cap and Trade systems? How they affect the rate and direction of innovation and branding in Climate Change of companies which participate to these financial systems?

 

Extract from Fabrice Mattei paper on carbon finance and climate change is available at www.ipandclimatechange.com

 

“Suppose that a small set of developed countries agree to establish a sustainably higher carbon price through a negotiated ETS system with emissions allocations. One outcome would be a greater incentive to develop environmental sound technologies that would likely be deployed only in the higher-priced region where the market returns support it. This would, push older technologies to regions outside the system, possibly raising global emissions overall and carbon leakage. Policymakers in the developing world or countries without ETS mechanisms may attempt to counter this situation with measures to encourage acquisition of newer technologies, perhaps resorting to limitations on exclusive IPRs.”

 

III.          Climate Change litigation: Is combating Climate Change a corporation’s obligation? If so, what is the role of IP?

 

Is combating Climate Change a corporation’s obligation or state’s obligation? What are the latest developments in climate change litigation in US, EU and Asia? How the science of “attribution research” or Probabilistic Event Attribution is shaping companies’ IP strategies?  To what extent can the world depend on technological innovation and IP to address climate change and what promising technologies show most potential to help the world come to terms with global warming? For example in the Climate Change case AEP   it is mentioned the desirability of forcing companies to implement "practical" options such as "changing fuels" and "increasing generation from . . . wind, solar" and other sources that they predict will "reduce carbon dioxide emissions without significantly increasing the cost of electricity."

 

Extract from Fabrice Mattei paper on carbon finance and climate change is available at ww.ipandclimatechange.com

 

“In the last decade, laws codifying responses to climate change have grown in number. As these laws have recognized new rights and duties, climate change litigation has remarkably developed. The adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2016 has exacerbated the trend, with test cases mushrooming worldwide not only against governments but also increasingly against corporations. For a time it was assumed that since everyone is responsible for at least some minimal level of CO2 emissions, nobody could be found liable. A number of new factors now challenge that assumption. Research reveal that over 70 % of human CO2 emissions are directly traceable and attributable to 90 corporations, some of them would have even known about climate change risk as early as 1970s and intentionally sought to misrepresent it.  One of the most noticeable attempts to test the boundaries of corporations’ liabilities for their contribution to climate change are lawsuits filed in the US, EU and investigations against 47 fossil companies in the Philippines”.

 

IV.       Climate change, blockchain and Artificial intelligence: the 4th Industrial Revolution, how IP will respond from ethical to technical aspects?

 

Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are presented as key factors to bolster the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Agreement has established universal and harmonized measurement, reporting, and verification (“MRV”) provisions of carbon emissions. Measurement is needed to identify emissions trends, determine where to focus greenhouse gas reduction efforts, track mitigation-related support, monitor progress achieved in reducing emissions etc.   Are they any flipside of all these benefits? it has to be remembered the amount of power and hardware needed to run blockchain does of itself produce significant amounts of carbon estimated at 500 kilos of CO2 per transaction. Artificial Intelligence largely supported by software encounters obstacles in obtaining protection under patent laws, how is it likely to impact the use of AI in addressing Climate Change? How IP laws should respond?

 

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