World IP Day: Green Patents - Sustainable Innovation Driving the Future

Montaury Pimenta, Machado & Vieira de Mello Brazil

On April 26, we celebrated World Intellectual Property Day, a date that invites people around the world to reflect on the contributions of intellectual property (IP) to technological innovation and the role of IP rights - such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and copyrights - in encouraging innovation and creativity. World Intellectual Property Day highlights the importance of a balanced IP system that recognizes and rewards inventors and creators for their work while providing society with the benefits of their creations. IP rights enable researchers, inventors, companies, designers, and artists to legally protect the products of their innovation and creativity and to obtain financial returns from them.


Recently, one of the most debated topics on IP has been regarding green patents. In Brazil, green patents have been gaining prominence as an essential tool for driving sustainable innovation and addressing the environmental challenges the country faces. With rich biodiversity, abundant natural resources, and a growing concern for environmental issues, Brazil is positioned to significantly benefit from the development and implementation of sustainable technologies.


The concept of sustainability has also become a central theme in all spheres of society. With increasingly urgent environmental challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, and natural resource scarcity, the search for sustainable solutions is now a global priority. In this context, green patents emerge as a crucial tool for driving sustainable innovation and building a greener and more resilient future.


Green patents are those related to inventions that significantly contribute to environmental sustainability and, for this reason, may have their processing expedited at the BPTO (Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office) upon request. They encompass a wide range of technologies, from renewable energies and energy efficiency to waste management solutions and biodiversity conservation.


The main objective of the accelerated examination program for these patents is to encourage the development and implementation of technologies that minimize environmental impact and promote the sustainable use of natural resources. The average time for the BPTO to publish a decision regarding the merit of a patent application submitted through the green patents program is just over a year and a half, whereas the examination of a regular application can take up to 6 years. Although the main reason for requesting entry into the BPTO’s green patents program is to expedite the patent application process, a patent granted as "green" can also add value to the invention, representing the commitment of its holder to the environmental cause. To be part of the program, the applicant must pay a priority examination fee under the "green patents" category and indicate in which green technology category their patent application fits.


Green patents play several roles in promoting sustainable innovation: by providing legal protection and exclusivity to inventors in a more expedited manner, green patents encourage investment in research and development of sustainable technologies. The increased incentive, in turn, stimulates the search for new solutions and drives progress towards a greener economy. Furthermore, a faster protection process facilitates technology transfer, facilitating the licensing and sharing of sustainable technologies, enabling wider and faster adoption of these innovations, promoting the global dissemination of best environmental practices, and helping address environmental challenges on a global scale. Additionally, companies holding green patents are often seen as leaders in sustainability and corporate responsibility, attracting investments and conscientious customers, thereby encouraging other companies to follow suit and invest in sustainable solutions. This directly contributes to increased investment in sustainability. In summary, green patents drive the growth of the green economy as a whole, creating jobs and business opportunities in sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable transportation, organic agriculture, and clean technologies.


However, despite the evident benefits, green patents also face significant challenges. For example, the precise definition of what constitutes "green technology”, and the assessment of its environmental impact, can be complex and subjective, leading to disputes and legal controversies. Therefore, it is crucial to develop clear and transparent criteria for granting green patents, ensuring that only truly sustainable innovations are recognized and protected.


Despite these challenges, green patents represent a unique opportunity to drive sustainable innovation and address global environmental challenges. With collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society, it is possible to harness the power of these patents to build a greener, more prosperous, and sustainable future for the next generations.


Montaury Pimenta, Machado & Vieira de Mello

About the Firm

Montaury Pimenta, Machado & Vieira de Mello

AddressAv. Almirante Barroso, 139 – 7th Floor, Downtown - Rio de Janeiro, Brasil - 20031.005
Tel55-21-2524 0510
Contact PersonClarissa Jaegger

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